Car­bon­ear to de­lay pro­posed in­fra­struc­ture projects

Town to re­ceive one-fifth of re­quested multi-year cap­i­tal works fund­ing

The Compass - - NEWS - BYMELISSA JENK­INS Melissa.jenk­ins@tc.tc

It is un­likely the Town of Car­bon­ear will be mov­ing ahead with many pro­posed in­fra­struc­ture projects in the next three years, un­less another method of fund­ing is made avail­able.

The town of some 4,700 res­i­dents was one of 22 mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties that ap­plied for multi-year cap­i­tal works fund­ing from the provin­cial gov­ern­ment ear­lier this year. Those mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties ranged in pop­u­la­tion from 1,764 in the Town of Vic­to­ria to 106,172 in the City of St. John’s (as per the 2011 Canada cen­sus).

Car­bon­ear’s ap­pli­ca­tion was for $6 mil­lion, which was on par with the pre­vi­ous ap­proval for mu­nic­i­pal cap­i­tal works fund­ing of $5.8 mil­lion.

A pri­or­ity list of pro­posed projects was sent to The Com­pass by town ad­min­is­tra­tor Cyn­thia Davis. Those in­cluded wa­ter, sewer and street up­grad­ing of Ma­haney’s Lane and Bond Street, Le­marchant Road phase II and III, the com­ple­tion of London Road (phase III), Cross Roads and Wa­ter Street East bridge up­grades and the Pike’s Lane lift sta­tion up­grade.

Each ap­proved project is shared 80/20 be­tween the provin­cial gov­ern­ment and the town.

Not ex­pected

It came as a sur­prise to some town coun­cil­lors when the ap­proved dol­lar fig­ure came in at $1.25 mil­lion, one-fifth of the pro­posed amount.

The chair of the town’s fi­nance com­mit­tee, Coun. Ray Noel, sent his re­sponse in an email to The Com­pass.

“The amount re­ceived is much less than the $6 mil­lion for which we ap­plied,” Noel wrote. “(We) cer­tainly would have liked to re­ceived more, but (we) have done very well in recent years and (I) am grate­ful for that.”

Out of the 22 mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties, only Vic­to­ria was ap­proved for less, some $580,000. The mu­nic­i­pal­ity ap­plied for some $1.2 mil­lion.

Car­bon­ear and Vic­to­ria are the only com­mu­ni­ties out­side the greater St. John’s area to ap­ply with an MHA that is not from the gov­ern­ing Pro­gres­sive Con­ser­va­tives. Lib­eral MHA Sam Slade has been the MHA for both mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties since Novem­ber 2013.

Dur­ing the last term, six projects were ap­proved for Car­bon­ear: London Road phase I and II, Le­marchant Street phase I and var­i­ous paving projects, in­clud­ing Val­ley Road, where the new Car­bon­ear Academy is lo­cated.

At the town’s reg­u­lar coun­cil meet­ing May 5, it was re­vealed which projects it would be in­vest­ing in, and which would be placed on hold un­til other fund­ing became avail­able.

La­marchant Street phase II and the Pike’s Lane lift sta­tion were pri­or­ity.

One pri­or­ity was given to La­marchant due to is­sues with wa­ter build-up dur­ing heavy pre­cip­i­ta­tion. Phase II is ex­pected to be­gin this sum­mer.

The lift sta­tion will be dou­bling in size. Ma­jor is­sues with the sta­tion have been raised in recent months. And since it han­dles most of the town’s sewer, the project became top pri­or­ity.

De­ter­min­ing fund­ing

In an email from Hugh Don­nan, spokesper­son for the De­part­ment of Mu­nic­i­pal Af­fairs, The Com­pass has learned the cri­te­ria for ap­proval.

“A num­ber of fac­tors are con­sid­ered in de­ter­min­ing how much fund­ing a com­mu­nity gets un­der the multi-year cap­i­tal works pro­gram. The fac­tors in­clude; as­sess­ment of great­est need, align­ment with key de­part­men­tal pri­or­ity ar­eas, such as the pro­vi­sion of wa­ter and waste­water ser­vices, and con­sid­er­a­tion of prior years’ in­vest­ments,” the email said.

An as­sess­ment was made by the mu­nic­i­pal af­fairs staff, and Min­is­ter Steve Kent made the fi­nal de­ci­sion on which towns re­ceived what fund­ing.

Com­mu­ni­ties of smaller pop­u­la­tions than Car­bon­ear have re­ceived fund­ing be­tween $ 1.7 mil lion (Spring­dale) and $2.6 mil­lion (Lewis­porte). Neigh­bour­ing Bay Roberts, whose pop­u­la­tion is some 5,800, was ap­proved for $3 mil­lion.

Other funded projects

In the past, the town has re­ceived ad­di­tional fund­ing for re­cre­ation.

“It is worth not­ing that since 2011, the de­part­ment has in­vested $7.4 mil­lion cost-shared (80/20) in key projects in the town such as wa­ter and sewer, paving and up­grades to re­cre­ation fa­cil­i­ties for the recent NL Sum­mer Games held in the com­mu­nity,” Don­nan wrote.

Ad­di­tional fund­ing had been made avail­able for the New­found­land and Labrador Sum­mer Games in 2012, which in­cluded up­grades to the town’s sports fa­cil­i­ties. The games were co-hosted with Har­bour Grace.

The dis­trict’s MHA at that time was PC Jerome Kennedy, who had held cab­i­net posts dur­ing his ten­ure in gov­ern­ment.

As for now, Davis con­firmed the town is com­mit­ted to the projects and will pro­ceed as soon as pos­si­ble.

“Coun­cil has com­mit­ted to mak­ing im­prove­ments to the re­main­ing por­tion of ( London Road) from where phase II will end to Colum­bus Drive,” Davis ex­plained. “The ex­tent of the im­prove­ments has not been de­ter­mined at this time.

“The town does not have funds avail­able in their op­er­at­ing budget to com­plete the cap­i­tal projects in­cluded in the MYCW ap­pli­ca­tion. Coun­cil would re­quire another $4,437,500 to com­plete the other projects …”

Davis con­firmed re­pairs and main­te­nance to streets and in­fra­struc­ture would still go ahead, but lim­ited, to keep taxes in the fu­ture at a rea­son­able level.

Ray Noel

Cyn­thia Davis

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