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Covered bridge project part of new infrastructure funding

Plans for rehabilitating the West Montrose covered bridge moved a little closer with funding from the federal and provincial governments.

Ottawa is kicking in $2.5 million and Queen’s Park $2.08 million as part of new infrastructure funding announced last week. The project will also received $1.67 million from the Region of Waterloo, the owner of the bridge now seeking public input on plans that include the potential of replacing wooden trusses with steel.

Kitchener-Conestoga MP Tim Louis said the new funding will help protect the landmark covered bridge.

“The West Montrose bridge is an icon in our riding and in our region,” he said, noting the amount of work that’s been done to keep it standing for 140 years.

“As well built as it is, it shouldn’t be standing at this point. It’s a testament to how hard people [worked], how great a job they did in the past and how previous generations have maintained it. I think it’s our turn to step up and to maintain that part of our heritage.”

Also announced was $74,750 in funding for the YMCA’s outdoor education centre on Paradise Lake in Wellesley Township. The federal contribution is $29,900, while the province will kick in $24,914. The YMCA contribution is $19,936.

“The project will replace an ageing and non-compliant septic system, and reconnect all the plumbing and everything to the new system. That helps it meet new regulatory requirements from the Ministry of Environment etc., so it’s really great,” said Kitchener-Conestoga MPP Mike Harris of the new funding.

“Obviously, as we move forward with outdoor programs and moving into the summer with nicer weather and people wanting to be outside, it’s great that we’ll be able to have a safe and reliable venue for the YMCA to run some of their programs.”

Other regional projects on the list include the construction of a new community mental health recreation hub for Lutherwood in Kitchener, a second-storey addition for YMCA location in Waterloo, a renovation and rehabilitation of the AR Kaufman YMCA, a transit hub multi-use trail for Kitchener and a roof replacement and accessibility renovations for Kitchener’s THE MUSEUM. 

Overall, the government of Canada has promised more than $6.9 million for these projects and other ones across southwestern Ontario, while the provincial government is supplying some $5.8 million.

Harris said the funding recognizes the importance of supporting local infrastructure and solidifying the partnership between the senior levels of government with regional and municipal government.

“It’s really about an understanding of what a lot of the priorities are within the region when it comes to infrastructure. We’ve seen at this point, tens of millions of dollars that the region has been able to apply for. And when I say the region, I mean all the municipalities within the region, not just the region itself.

“We’ve been able to recognize those priorities and make sure that you’re from a provincial government standpoint, helping to leverage. The dollars that the municipalities are putting forward, that the federal government is putting forward, and being able to make sure that we have, you know, a strong and robust system here to be able to upgrade and create new infrastructure for everyone that resides within our amazing community.”

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