Ontario COVID-19 resilience infrastructure stream expected to benefit Manitoulin Lodge

GORE BAY – A new Province of Ontario funding program being provided under the COVID-19 Resilience Stream is being welcomed the Town of Gore Bay and the operators of the Manitoulin Lodge Nursing Home in Gore Bay. 

“We are very pleased with the recent announcement regarding infrastructure funding to support the long-term care sector,” said Stephanie Barber, community relations co-ordinator with Jarlette Health Services in an email to the Recorder this past Monday. “As you may be aware, over the next 20 years there will be more than twice as many seniors over the age of 75 and by extension, growth in the number who need long term care support. Coupled with the advent of COVID-19, the system is presently strained. This allocation of funds will certainly benefit the sector at large and help offset some of the other challenges currently faced, including delay in getting new long-term care beds built and the systemic issue of unpredictable funding and funding cuts, while also helping to enhance the care services afforded to our residents.”

“At this time we understand that Manitoulin Lodge, like all long term care homes in the province, will benefit from the aforementioned infrastructure funds. However, we are still waiting to understand the specifics of the roll-out and allocation,” wrote Ms. Barber.

The Ontario government is providing up to $1.05 billion in combined federal-provincial funding through the new COVID-19 Resilience Infrastructure stream to build or renovate health and safety-related projects in long-term care, education and municipalities. The funding is part of the federal government’s Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program and reinforces the commitment of both the federal and provincial governments to protect the health and well-being of individuals and families during the pandemic, a release explained. 

Michael Lalonde, treasurer for the Town of Gore Bay, provided a copy of the government’s release to all members of the Gore Bay general government committee last week. “There are a number of different aspects that the funding can be used for, such as recreation and fitness centres, arenas and more. There are lots of opportunities in here.” 

It was pointed out by town clerk Stasia Carr that Gore Bay had received several quotes for needed repairs to be undertaken of the town boardwalk but all were more expensive than the estimated costs. 

Gore Bay Mayor Dan Osborne said he would like to see an application made to this fund for monies to repair the Gore Bay arena roof. “Definitely we should apply for funding and, as much as I would like to see our boardwalk and bridges (repaired), in my opinion we should be trying for funds to get the arena roof done.”

Details on the funding announcement were provided last week by Premier Doug Ford, Laurie Scott, minister of Infrastructure, Stephen Lecce, minister of Education, Steve Clark, minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing and Merrilee Fullerton, minister of Long-Term Care.

“Getting shovels in the ground on new infrastructure projects across the province will be a critical component of our path to long-term economic recovery,” said Premier Ford. “Not only will this investment help communities build the necessary infrastructure to keep Ontarians safe and healthy, but these projects will create hundreds of local construction jobs and support local businesses and suppliers. It’s a win-win for the home team.”

Eligible projects under the COVID-19 Resilience stream will fall under four main categories: community, recreation, health and education renovations (e.g. retrofits, repairs or upgrades to long-term care homes, publicly funded schools and co-located childcare centre facilities, recreation centres or shelters); COVID-19 response infrastructure (e.g. heating, ventilation, air-conditioning, new builds or renovations to enable physical distancing); active transportation (e.g. parks, trails); and disaster mitigation, adaptation, or remediation (e.g. flood mitigation).

The COVID-19 Resilience stream will deliver up to $700 million for education-related projects to be nominated and administered by the Ministry of Education; an allocation-based program that will deliver $250 million to municipalities to address critical local infrastructure needs, including $6.5 million that will be directed toward Indigenous and on-reserve education; and up to $100 million for long-term care projects to be identified and administered by the Ministry of Long-Term Care.

Eligible projects must begin by September 30, 2021 and be completed by December 31, 2021. Additional details about the COVID-19 Resilience stream and intake opening dates will be available in the days and weeks ahead.