The federal government has given Burlington a boost for a number of key infrastructure projects in the city.
Burlington Mayor Marianne Meed Ward made the announcement on Wednesday afternoon at the Skyway Arena, which is one of seven projects that will benefit from the $5.6 million in one-time top-up funding.
She says the funding will allow the city to advance work on those projects to get them done more quickly.
“These are not ‘nice-to-have’ projects,” said Meed Ward. “These are critical elements of what makes a community function, what makes a community healthy, what makes a community livable and what helps us all to thrive in the community.”
The Skyway Arena will be entirely refurbished, including the replacement of its coolant system to meet new regulations and the construction of an indoor walking track, which Meed Ward said is something the community had been requesting.
“There are a number of mothers with children, seniors, folks that want an opportunity in our occasionally inclement weather in Canada to walk and get exercise inside. And to be able to provide that in this space with this funding is something the community has asked for, and it’s what makes our community livable,” the mayor said.
Other projects that will benefit from the funding include the Elgin Street promenade, Beachway Park pavilion, the civic square outside of city hall, the Wolfe Island Bridge, transit buses and the resurfacing of New Street.
Burlington MP and Minister of Democratic Institutions Karina Gould and Oakville-North Burlington MP Pam Damoff were also on hand for the announcement, and both expressed frustration with the Ontario government in terms of helping municipalities pay for infrastructure improvements.
“One of the things that we’ve reflected on at the federal level is while, unfortunately, the provincial government has decided to pull back and withdraw from some of these much-needed investments, our commitment is to our communities and it’s to our citizens,” said Gould, adding that the funding is part of a countrywide investment of $2.2 billion in infrastructure.
“It has been very frustrating at the federal level to see infrastructure money that we had allocated to get to you here being held up at the provincial level,” said Damoff. “This was a way to give a one-time top-up to municipalities to allow them to … get moving on these projects that are so important to the community.”
Burlington Ward 5 Coun. Paul Sharman was also present for the announcement and said the replacement of Skyway Arena’s coolant system goes hand in hand with the City of Burlington’s decision to declare a climate emergency at this week’s council meeting.
“We have got to take action. We have to show leadership as a council to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions,” said Sharman. “And this particular location is important to that mission because the coolant system is out of date and actually is a source of greenhouse gasses and pollution.”
The arena is expected to be fully renovated with its new coolant system and updates by 2022. Most of the other projects are expected to be completed within 18 months, with the exception of the New Street resurfacing, which is anticipated to happen in 2020.
Breakdown of the funding distribution:
- Elgin Promenade, Phase 4 – $700,000
- Transit Bus renewal program – $500,000
- Wolfe Island Bridge, additional rehabilitation – $230,000
- New Street resurfacing, advance from 2023 to 2020 – $2.050,000
- Beachway Pavilion, decking and accessibility improvements – $350,000
- Civic Square, additional enhancements – $265,000
- Skyway Arena, new small indoor walking track – $1,500,000