Flower’s Cove can’t afford $600K for water/roads
Department says town must pay same rate as others
FLOWER’S COVE, NL – The council of Flower’s Cove says the town cannot afford to pay $600,000 for its share of infrastructure work announced by the federal and provincial government on Oct. 21.
According to Mayor Keith Billard, council discussed the issue at a special meeting Oct. 18 and agreed to accept federal and provincial contributions totalling approximately $600,000 for an upgrade to the water system, combined with the roads
Under that agreement, the town would have to contribute an equal amount — $600,000 — for the $1.2 million worth of work.
However, council proposes it should pay just 10 per cent for its share of the project. It also suggests the work could be done for just $700,000,
That would reduce the town’s cost from $600,000 at 50 per cent to just $60,000 at 10 per cent, excluding HST rebate.
However, government is not open to council’s suggestion.
In a statement to the Northern Pen on Friday, Oct. 27, the Department of Transportation and Works stated that officials met with the mayor of the Town of Flower’s Cove as recently as Oct. 26 to explore possibilities for the project funding. “The minister of Municipal Affairs and Environment has also met with the mayor to discuss this issue,” according to the statement. “The town will be subject to the same costshared ratios as other communities as developed under the provincial government’s new three-year municipal infrastructure program announced through Budget 2017.” That policy put the municipal share for capital works funding for water system upgrades at 10 per cent and road upgrades at 50 percent.
According to Billard, council determined it would be “irresponsible” to take on any road upgrades at a 50/50 cost share ratio, saying it would bankrupt the town.
Billard says council would be willing to work with the Department of Municipal Affairs and Environment to get as much water and road work finished as possible, within the town’s ability to pay.
He referred to the town’s lower tax base and says the high number of seniors in Flower’s Cove can’t afford to pay for the work at this cost.
“Out of 99 households, 20 households only have one income,” Billard told the Northern Pen. “Of the 201 residents, 50 are seniors.”
Billard has been adamant that the increase in the municipal share for roadwork is too much for small towns like Flower’s Cove.