Woolwich, Wellesley and Wilmot townships will see $1.9 million in infrastructure funding from the province under the Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund (OCIF).
The local funding, announced last week by Kitchener-Conestoga MPP Mike Harris, is part of a larger $200-million investment in 424 communities across the province.
The money can be used for building and repairing roads, bridges, water, and wastewater infrastructure, with Harris noting the timing will help municipalities solidify their budgets for the year.
“One thing that we were striving for as a government – and this is something we heard loud and clear from municipalities across the province especially some of the smaller municipalities that obviously don’t have the same revenue or tax base that the larger ones do – is trying to keep things a little bit more consistent. And, to try and get some of these things rolled out to them before they have to put forward their budget… so trying to give them some clarity, a little bit before budget time rolls around has been something that we’ve really been trying to do,” said Harris. “We’re listening to municipalities and one thing they had been looking for was more consistent funding and more notice of when they were going to be eligible and get it, so that they can work it into their municipal budgets and we’re trying to do that as best as we can.”
Of the $1,878,525 made available, Woolwich Township is set to receive $630,843, Wellesley Township will receive $518,917, and Wilmot will receive the most funding coming in at $728,765.
Wellesley treasurer Theresa Bisch, said the township appreciates the funding, which will be used for paving projects.
“The announcement about the OCIF funding is the formula-based funding we knew about before we did the budget. It isn’t a new program, but we really appreciate the continued support of the Province of Ontario for our infrastructure projects. We are planning to use some of the funds for our 2021 paving program and any excess will be held in a reserve for 2022 projects,” she said.
Woolwich will also be using the funding for road repair, putting the money towards hot mix resurfacing projects in 2021.
Director of finance Richard Petherick says for the past few years they have been identifying allocation-based funding for paving projects.
“I think that there’s been a focus on the province using it for hard infrastructure. I know from a township perspective, we’ve always had the approach that we’re trying to maintain and renew our hard infrastructure, so for our roads and bridges. We’ve been really committed, specifically from the OCIF, to making sure that the funding we receive under this grant is being used for our hard infrastructure,” Petherick added.
The OCIF provides funding for communities with populations under 100,000, along with all rural and northern communities.