QUEEN’S PARK – Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Infrastructure Minister Laurie Scott announced a $200 million investment for 2020 to assist 424 small, rural and Northern communities build and repair critical local infrastructure, including roads, bridges, water and wastewater infrastructure on Friday, January 17. The funding is being transferred through the Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund (OCIF).
The Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund provides stable and predictable funding for communities with populations under 100,000, along with all rural and Northern communities. This is a formula-based funding that communities receive every year, but can vary somewhat from year-to-year. Communities have leeway to allocate the funds to infrastructure items they want to prioritize.
“Ontario’s economy is thriving, but we must ensure every person and every region across the province can share in this prosperity,” said Premier Ford in a January 17 release. “Investing in infrastructure is critical to helping rural communities attract, support and sustain economic growth and job creation.”
“Our government is investing in community-based infrastructure projects that will build healthier and safer communities,” continued Minister Scott. “This funding builds on our ongoing commitment to support small, rural and Northern municipalities across Ontario.”
Incorporated into the provincial government’s Plan to Build Ontario Together, OCIF helps eligible communities invest in local infrastructure and asset management planning to address their priority needs.
“Today’s announcement provides the predictable and stable infrastructure funding small, rural and Northern municipalities have requested,” added Minister Scott. “With this OCIF funding, we are working directly with our municipal partners to help them build much-needed community infrastructure.”
OCIF allocations in the region include: Township of Assiginack, $104,319; Township of Billings, $50,000; Township of Burpee and Mills, $50,000; Township of Cockburn Island, $50,000; Township of Central Manitoulin, $90,232; Town of Espanola, $279,603; Town of Gore Bay, $88,250; Municipality of Killarney, $50,000; Town of Northeastern Manitoulin and the Islands, $78,507; and Township of Tehkummah, $50,000.
The Town of Central Manitoulin has earmarked its funding for work on its septic lift station. The Township of Assiginack will be utilizing their funding to replace the membranes in their water treatment plant. As the Billings budget has not yet been passed, town officials were not at liberty to outline what they would like to see the funds directed toward. The Northeast Town is allocating their funding to the Orr’s Sideroad project which includes a partial grade lift and resurface.
Approximately $200 million in formula-based funding was allocated to small, rural and Northern communities in 2019. This year’s allocations vary slightly in most of the Island municipalities, with the smaller communities receiving the floor amount of $50,000. Municipalities may accumulate their formula funding for up to five years to address larger infrastructure projects.