Sunday, January 10, 2016

Help Encourage “Social Infrastructure” Investments

You may recall that during the summer there were no grants available from the Provincial or Federal government for “quality of life investments” like recreational facilities.

In July, I informed you that “Since there are currently no Federal or Provincial grants available [for a potential new community centre], the Town will continue to lobby for a policy change and for funding.”

In August I asked that you assist the Town’s efforts; I wrote “So, during this National election, please ask your local candidates to ensure that the Canadian Government will also help fund improvements to our quality of life – like new recreational and cultural facilities.”

Since that time, Canadians elected a new Federal Government. During their election campaign, the Liberal Party promised: “Over the next decade, we will invest almost $20 billion more in Canada’s social infrastructure.”

What did they mean by “social infrastructure”? They meant investments that “improve quality of life for millions of Canadians” like investments in “affordable housing, seniors’ facilities, early learning and child care, and cultural and recreational infrastructure.”

This could potentially mean great news for Pelham; it could help make our potential Community Centre more affordable. And, it’s one of the reasons why Pelham Council recently earmarked $37 million in the Town’s 2016 budget toward constructing a potential Community Centre; you see, previous Federal and Provincial grants only funded projects that local Councils already included in their approved capital budgets.

Now, I am asking again for your help with our lobby efforts. You see, last week the Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau launched 2016-17 pre-budget consultations. He  “…called upon Canadians to share their thoughts on how to better support the middle class, create jobs, and set the right conditions for long-term prosperity and stronger economic growth.”

The Federal Government is seeking feedback from Canadians on a number of topics, including: “What infrastructure needs can best help grow the economy, protect our environment, and meet your priorities locally?”

Therefore, I encourage you to participate in the Federal government’s pre-budget consultations and suggest that they help fund cultural and recreational facilities with the Provincial Government(s) and Municipalities.

Please check out their website at and follow the options for online consultations (including via Facebook and Twitter). You can also write to: Honourable Bill Morneau, Minister of Finance, Department of Finance Canada, 90 Elgin Street, Ottawa, Ontario   K1A 0G5.

With your help, we can encourage the Federal Government to help make “social infrastructure” investments – like for a potential Pelham Community Centre – a priority and a reality!