Federal budget signals that new investment will respect the realities of smaller communities.
St. John’s — Wednesday’s federal budget has the potential to empower municipalities in Newfoundland and Labrador to drive local economic growth and quality-of-life improvements—with a long-term investment plan dedicated to the infrastructure priorities of rural, northern and remote communities.
“This budget presents real opportunities for communities in Newfoundland and Labrador,” said Municipalities Newfoundland and Labrador President Karen Oldford. “It recognizes that Canada’s economic future depends on a thriving and connected rural Canada—and offers communities new tools to improve the lives of people who live here.”
As a Board member of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, President Karen Oldford has helped engage federal officials and cabinet ministers in unprecedented dialogue over the past 18 months on the design of the federal infrastructure plan.
This new budget responds to key FCM recommendations. Here is a breakdown on how those investments affect Newfoundland and Labrador:
Significant housing investment: This budget delivers $11.2 billion over 11 years for affordable and social housing and to homelessness solutions. This is a significant response to FCM’s call for urgent leadership to tackle the housing crisis across Canada. As part of a larger National Housing Strategy, this is important for larger centers, but will also address the problems of hidden homelessness in rural communities in Newfoundland and Labrador.
A growth plan for rural Canada: This budget confirms a $2-billion investment plan dedicated to the unique priorities of rural, northern and remote communities—including better transportation links and more reliable broadband Internet access.
Green infrastructure: A major investment of $21.9 billion over 11 years for green infrastructure with $9.2 billion of that going to drinking water and wastewater treatment projects which are a priority for communities in Newfoundland and Labrador. Another $2 billion of that fund is dedicated to a Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund to help municipalities deal with effects of climate change.
Canada Infrastructure Bank has an investment of $35 billion over 11 years for “transformative” projects, and impact on a region. This provides an opportunity for communities to group projects.
Public Transit will see $3.4 billion over 11 years which could be an opportunity for expanding Metrobus services in the North East Avalon.
The Smart Cities initiative is a $300 million investment over 11 years for better city planning and implementation of clean, digitally connected technology including greener buildings, smart roads, and energy systems, and advanced digital connections for homes and businesses.
“This budget is about governments working together to meet local needs in ways that tackle national challenges, like growth and productivity. And by respecting the realities of rural communities the government is showing that it understands that modern nation-building includes communities of all sizes,” said Oldford.
Municipalities Newfoundland & Labrador (MNL) was formed in 1951 as an umbrella organization mandated to represent and support local government in Newfoundland and Labrador. MNL represents the 276 incorporated municipalities in the province that service 89 per cent of the population and their more than 2,000 leaders.
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Municipalities Newfoundland and Labrador