Editor’s note: This article has been updated on Friday, Nov. 20 to include information from the federal government.
The federal and Ontario governments have announced that City of Peterborough and surrounding townships will receive more than $1.65M infrastructure funding to assist in recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
According to Peterborough-Kawartha MP Maryam Monsef, the Government of Canada will cover 80 per cent of infrastructure costs, Ontario the remaining 20 per cent. Monsef highlighted that applications are now being accepted for the COVID-19 Resilience Infrastructure Stream for Municipalities, a $250 million federal-provincial funding stream.
The City of Peterborough has been allocated $1,054,190 — $843,352 from the federal government and $210,838 from the province.
“Eligible projects include retrofits, repairs and upgrades for buildings, infrastructure to support physical distancing, active transportation infrastructure, including parks, trails, foot bridges, bike lanes and multi-use paths, disaster mitigation and adaptation projects, including natural infrastructure, flood and fire mitigation, and tree planting and related infrastructure, as well as other flexibilities in response to COVID-19,” stated Monsef.
Peterborough-Kawartha MPP Dave Smith noted in accordance with federal government guidelines, all applications for projects must be submitted no later than March 31, 2021. Projects must be completed by Dec. 31, 2021. However, remote communities of 5,000 people have until Dec. 31, 2022.
“Time and time again, we have provided our local municipalities with the support they need to invest in critical infrastructure projects,” said Smith. “This funding will address needs such as retrofitting buildings, COVID-19 protections and environmental infrastructure. Investing in local projects remains our top priority.”
Peterborough Mayor Diane Therrien stated the city is grateful for the funding as it looks “towards recovering from the impacts of COVID-19.”
“The financial pressures created by COVID-19 make 2020 an especially difficult budget year,” she said. “This funding will help make sure work continues on critical infrastructure projects in Peterborough.”
Peterborough County is receiving $104,367 ($83,493 from the federal government; $20,873 from the province), while $100,000 has been allocated to the townships of Douro-Dummer, Havelock-Belmont-Methuen, Selwyn and North Kawartha and the Municipality of Trent Lakes (each on an 80-20 share from Ottawa and Ontario).
“This nearly $1.5 million investment is in addition to $5.9 million in direct federal support through the Safe Restart Agreement to help our Peterborough-Kawartha municipalities respond to this unprecedented crisis,” said Monsef. “To date, 97 cents on every dollar spent on COVID-19 response measures in Ontario has been provided by the federal government. We will be there to do whatever it takes, for as long as it takes, to support Canadians get through this difficult time.”
“On behalf of Douro-Dummer and the County of Peterborough, I’m appreciative of this additional funding that goes a long way to help with those little things that have been adding up to become big things,” said county warden and township mayor J. Murray Jones. “You have listened and we are very appreciative.”
Selwyn Township Mayor Andy Mitchell echoed the sentiment
“Selwyn Township applauds this investment in our community’s infrastructure, thanks MPP Smith for making the announcement, and the township appreciates the co-operation of the federal and provincial governments that have made it possible,” said Mitchell.
North Kawartha Mayor Carolyn Amyotte says the financial assistance has been crucial.
“These funds have enabled North Kawartha to manage and adapt to the challenges of COVID-19 as well as provide relief and assistance to our residents,” she said. “We are very grateful for all the support from MPP Smith.”
Ontario Municipal Partnership Fund
Smith also announced additional funding under the 2021 Ontario Municipal Partnership Fund, the province’s main general assistance grant that supports 389 municipalities to allow them to address needs based on their own local priorities.
For Peterborough-Kawartha, municipality OMPF allocation totals $5,308,500:
- Douro-Dummer $568,900
- Havelock-Belmont-Methuen $1,340,300
- North Kawartha $980,500
- Selwyn Township $1,068,500
- Trent Lakes $1,350,300
“These are challenging times – all levels of government are facing unique issues which require a united front,” said Smith. “This funding for our municipalities will be vital to support their financial well-being – keeping them in a position where they can protect services for our constituents.”
Trent Lakes Mayor Janet Clarkson said the funding will assist aging infrastructure in the municipality north of Peterborough.
“We appreciate this finance boost especially at this time we all know that a great deal of our infrastructure is 40 plus years old and the strain on our budgets is very critical thanks for the timely announcement,” she said.
Jones and Amyotte say the OMPF enables them to plan and budget for necessary services and infrastructure investments.
“It helps level the playing field for those municipalities with limited property assessments,” said Amyotte.
“The small increase in funding over 2020 will assist the township in making sure every dollar counts,” added Jones. “OMPF funding is critical to the township maintaining a tax rate that respects the taxpayer while ensuring that investments in infrastructure and municipal assets can be completed ensuring long term stability for the township.”