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October 27, 2017 10:35 pm

Infrastructure Funding Tops FCM’s Agenda

Friday, June 3, 2016 @ 5:59 AM

Prince George, B.C. –  City of Prince George Councillor, Garth Frizzell is in Winnipeg this weekend, taking part in the Federation of Canadian Muncipalities Annual  General Meeting and Federal infrastructure funding is one of the main topics of  discussion.

While the convention is underway, FCM  representatives  will be meeting with the Federal Minister in charge of the  infrastructure funding “We’ll be talking about what  municipalities need for the next ( funding intake) coming up, just initial conversations” says Frizzell,  who  says  the  Minister  is a former Councillor  with the city of  Edmonton ” He’s said he’s very interested in  talking to us about what we want before he starts putting  the next generation of infrastructure  programs together.”

The discussions will be “starting points” says Frizzell,  who  says the  mandate letter from the Prime Minister  outlined an expectation  of consultation with municipalities.  “It’s been pretty good so far,   it’s about $3 million dollars a year Prince George gets from  the gas tax, and we’ve got the new infrastructure program so we just have to get them activated  and  this is a starting point for Prince  George and other communities to get pieces of that multi-billion dollar  pie that’s been promised.”

There are just a few  resolutions up for debate says Frizzell, with the first being a national housing program “There is a national housing program that is  run for 61 communities across Canada and the first  item up for debate is for expanding that program.  It’s  interesting for  Prince George because we’re one of the 61 communities  that’s impacted by this, so all the delegates  from across  Canada  will be debating this and it has particular interest to us because  there are two  homelessness organizations that  stand to benefit   if this  gets traction.”

Another  resolution calls for  the establishment of National Orange Shirt Day , which would be to recognize residential school survivors .

Frizzell   says there  will be some valuable  workshops including  one on revenue sharing  among   mining communities.  Fort St. John Mayor Lori Ackerman will  be sharing the Peace  experience, where  the area has a special agreement  with the Province to ensure  communities in the Peace receive  revenue  from the industries  not located  within  their specific  boundaries, but which rely on  the services and amenities of the community.

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities   plays an important role in connecting  local government with  the Federal government and its programs  says  Frizzell “This last year when the Federal Government’s budget came out they recognized that  FCM would be  big partners on the infrastructure files.  It’s a lot of advocacy work we do  over a long period of time,  but it has resulted  in money, directly, for Prince George and other communities  right across Canada.”  He points to the gas tax fund “Under the Conservative government it was indexed,  so  it’s being increased every year.  It’s a line item on a budget, so it its predictable funding, which   is what municipalities look for, so there have been some good wins,”



3 million from gas taxes and it will probably all be put towards bike lanes, kind of ironic eh?

    I think that answers the question I posed at the end of my post below very nicely.

    Thank you for that.

    Priority setting is not one of this city’s strengths.

McGill put out a report called “An overview of Canada’s infrastructure deficit, municipal, provincial and federal” in 2007.
If you wish to see it, put this link into a search engine – engineeconomistesquebecois.com/files/documents/b8/95/8mai-saeed-mirza.pdf

They did a projection of
1. No maintenance
2. 1% maintenance
3. 1.5% maintenance
4. 2% maintenance.

In 2007 there was a $123.6 billion deficit. Each of the above increased the deficit with a projection of about doubling by 2017 with the 2% scenario. So, I would think that a 3% annual maintenance level would begin to reduce the infrastructure deficit.

In addition, the report indicates that a more scientific estimate of the current municipal infrastructure deficit is urgently needed since there has been a failure for important influencing factors in past estimates in addition to rapid aging and escalating deterioration in certain categories of core infrastructure.

I am tired of hearing the same thing over and over again from FCM. What I would like to know is where are we in the big picture? Are we improving or continuing to decline further since 2007, for instance?

As far as our local needs go when it comes to hard rather than soft infrastructure are we making the best decisions as to where to spend the maintenance money? We need some better transparency at all levels of governments and municipal associations such as FCM.

    Makes one wonder where all the tax dollars are spent that are collected by the Cities and Municipalities. Here in Vancouver there is a constant cry for more funding for rapid transit. Why is the user not contributing to transportation needs. Where is the planning or lack of it.

Seems to me that we used a million or so of the gas tax fund at the end of last year and this year for roads in Prince George. My guess is that we will continue to do so.

With people advocating for a new fire hall, swimming pool, pac, roller rink, and upgrade to the library, its not hard to see where the City would like to see this money go.

Fact of the matter is we need to do some maintenance on these buildings, and then spend more money on water, sewer, paving, sidewalks, etc;

Spending huge amounts of infrastructure money on recreational buildings, performing arts centres, or a new (but not needed) fire hall, is probably no a good idea.

    I would like to see the criteria used by administration in the decision making process of setting priorities.

    I do not agree that putting all maintenance dollars into a select few categories of infrastructure will benefit anyone. We need some life-cycle costing exercises which are integrated across all categories. We have the computing capacity to do such scenario planning these days. We do not appear to be using it. The responses given to Council when such matter come up for debate are rarely detailed enough for Council to make an informed decision so that they can be legitimately involved in the decision making process.

All of these municipal representatives attending these meetings, actually thinking that Justin’s promise of “infrastructure spending” meant spending within Canada, haha!

Justin’s far too busy borrowing money and giving it to or spending it in countries other than our own!

Oh well, at least they all get to party together in Winnipeg on municipal tax dollars!

Party on Garth!

“Wayne’s World, Wayne’s World, Party On, Excellent!”

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