|Today's date: Saturday May 25, 2013||Vol 46 Issue 21|
We Cover The County...
Centre Wellington to apply for infrastructure funds for local projects
by Mike Robinson
Centre Wellington hopes to make use of federal infrastructure funds to knock a few projects off its ‘to do’ list.
On July 16, Mayor Joanne Ross-Zuj called the chance for additional infrastructure funds “a bit of exciting news” for Centre Wellington.
Ross-Zuj said the turnaround for applications is fairly short - Aug. 24, she said.
Council directed staff to apply for funding under the Community Infrastructure Improvement Fund (CIIF) program for two projects.
One project would includes the landscaping of the pedestrian walkway and parking lot improvements adjacent to the Fergus Carnegie Library in downtown Fergus, plus the replacement of aging sanitary and storm sewer infrastructure under the library.
The second project would be the rehabilitation of the Second Line Bridge (Structure 31-West Garafraxa).
Chief financial officer Wes Snarr said, “Of the two projects, the library project is the most likely to be approved.”
Snarr said, “We have also been advised that the federal government has no plans for further infrastructure funding until 2014.”
He stated the overall estimated cost of the Fergus Library project is $600,000.
Snarr clarified that since recipients seeking no more than a 1/3 CIIF contribution to eligible costs will be given priority, the municipality would plan to apply for a contribution in the amount of $200,000.
He added “Some funding is better than no funding.”
Councillor Steven VanLeeuwen said that while it is exciting to see the prospect of $200,000 in federal funds, he wanted to know the actual anticipated cost of the Fergus project.
Parks and recreation director Andy Goldie said that the project is divided into three segments - the eastern section, the library section and the western section.
“We’re anticipating about $600,000 total for all of the projects.”
He said about $250,000 is estimated for the parking upgrades in the eastern parking lot, about $250,000 to $300,000 to address the library portion for servicing and finally $90,000 to $100,000 on the western parking lot including a turnaround access.
Remaining work on the library site would be by the county, Goldie said.
Centre Wellington is still in negotiations with the county as the detailed design is worked out for the Fergus library branch.
“Where is this $600,000 coming from?” asked councillor Walt Visser.
He said there is nothing in the budget.
“It was not something we’d anticipated for the budget process for 2012.”
He pointed out this is a county-driven project and the township is trying to work within that timeline.
“At this stage, they are anticipating breaking ground in 2013," he said.
Originally, the hope was to start this year, but some issues still need to be addressed, Goldie said.
VanLeeuwen asked whether the projects were included in the township’s 10-year capital plan.
Goldie said the downtown pedestrian work was not since it was a project recommended through the Fergus BIA.
“They’d been working on a design.”
Councillor Kirk McElwain asked whether the BIA was funding any of the project.
Goldie said that in his discussion with the BIA, he understood that they were prepared to front the costs for the consultant to do the design work,
However, he added, “At this point, they were not anticipating paying for the implementation.”
VanLeeuwen agreed that there had been no discussion in that regard.
Because council had yet to approve the project, McElwain wondered if it was premature to apply for funding.
Ross-Zuj said although the funding to be applied for this project is fairly small, “we’re still at the table for the big infrastructure plan, which we should hear more about pretty soon.”
McElwain clarified, “If we get the funding, are we not then committed to this?”
He also wanted to know what would happen if council chose not to move ahead.
McElwain pointed to council being in a similar situation a few years ago with the Eighth Line bridge.
At that time, council did not want to turn down the funding over concerns it might not qualify for another application.
“It puts us between a rock and a hard place. It can be uncomfortable.”
The mayor agreed.
McElwain wondered whether there were other projects which could be applied for.
Snarr explained one of the criteria for funding was that it was for a project the municipality had not planned to do in the near future.
He added that only $150 million was available nationally, “which really isn’t very much.”
VanLeeuwen said it was important to be aware that just because council applies for the funding “it is clear we have not yet made a decision on this work.”
“We’re just trying to get a few bits of funds to us help out with this,” Ross-Zuj said.
Even though the bridge work costs more, it was placed second on the priority list.
Snarr said the cost estimate for the Second Line bridge rehabilitation is $2,000,000.
Work consists of full depth deck removal and replacement, placement of bearing seals, and construction of approach slabs.”
He noted the steel superstructure of the bridge was re- habilitated four years ago at a cost of approximately $1,000,000.
This is one of three Township owned bridges that spans the Grand River, and is identified in the Township’s Official Plan as a projected crossing for a future arterial by-pass for Fergus.
“We would plan to apply for a 50% contribution of $1,000,000, which is the maximum allowed under the CIIF program.”
As council endorsed submitting the application, Ross-Zuj noted that the township recreation department recently received $25,000 provincial grant for active transportation.
“That money will help out with that project.”
She noted there is also an opportunity for a cultural grant as well.
“They are small bits of money, but they are all opportunities to pursue.”
July 20, 2012
The Wellington Advertiser
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