Sunday, January 24, 2016

2016 Capital Budget and Major Projects

Infrastructure Minister Amarjeet Sohi speaking at the
Toronto Region Board of Trade (Photo: CBC News)
Since both Town and Regional Councils approved 2016 Capital Budgets, I want to inform you about some major improvements planned for Pelham this year. Let’s start with a couple of the biggest.

Pelham Community Centre:
As I wrote about previously, Pelham Town Council earmarked $37 million in the Town’s budget toward constructing a potential Community Centre.

I purposefully use the word “earmarked” because we included what’s like a place-holder in the 2016 capital budget. In the case of the potential Community Centre, both the design and the spending of any of these funds will have to come back to Council for approval.

Why did we do this? The major reason is so that this project might be eligible for government grants. You see, previous Federal and Provincial grants only funded projects that local Councils already included in their approved capital budgets.

In fact, in his speech to the Toronto Board of Trade last Thursday, the Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Canadian Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, stated the Government’s desire to invest $10 billion in infrastructure projects now – to help stimulate the economy. He stated that he trusts municipal governments to set priorities and that he wants both “shovel-ready” and “shovel-worthy” projects.

By earmarking these funds this year and by working to finalize the design this spring, I hope that we can be well positioned for Council to consider proceeding with this important project this year.

Maple Acre Library:
You may recall that last year we budgeted $1 million for the design / build for a renewed Maple Acre Library. Now, we will proceed this year with the construction.

Since last Fall, the Maple Acre Advisory Committee worked with an architect and builder toward a design that meets the Town’s guidelines for Civic Landmark Buildings, enhances the heritage / original portion of the Maple Acre Library, and adds-on a “learning commons” with “rentable, flexible, multi-purpose, open space.”

Last Wednesday, the Maple Acre Advisory Committee approved “Option A” as the design for the new library facility. The Committee considered more than 130 comments – gathered during a public open house, through comment sheets at the Pelham Arena and Pelham Libraries, and via an online consultation – and agreed with the 72% of those who chose “Option A” over “Option B.”

I’m thrilled the Town will reconstruct Maple Acre into a state-of-the-art library while honouring nearly a hundred years of library service in Fenwick. I look forward to people enjoying the renewed facility for many years to come.

More about our other planned capital improvements for 2016 next time.