June 11, 2012 | Provincial consultation is underway to ensure municipalities have input into how funding under the next cost-shared infrastructure program will be used, Local Government Minister Ron Lemieux said today.

“Municipal infrastructure is a priority for all Manitobans,” said Lemieux.  “We need to make sure that we are using our infrastructure dollars wisely and are using them to meet the priorities of municipalities.

Over the next two weeks, Lemieux and officials will be speaking to delegates attending seven regional meetings held annually by the Association of Manitoba Municipalities.  Lemieux will update delegates on plans for a new cost-shared infrastructure program and will ask them to share their feedback on how past infrastructure programs worked, as well as their priorities for a new program.  Regional meetings begin today in McCreary.

Cost-shared infrastructure programming in Manitoba has been a huge success benefiting municipalities across the province, Lemieux said.  Under the Canada-Manitoba Infrastructure Program (CMIP), which was just completed, Canada and Manitoba approved over $180 toward

170 projects.  Typically, projects were cost-shared between federal, provincial and project proponents with each partner contributing one-third of funding for the approved amount.  Projects completed using CMIP funding offered substantial and concrete benefits to communities through the investment in infrastructure, the minister said.  Some of the key benefits achieved by communities were:

  • improving potable water to over 47,000 households,
  • connecting over 2,000 households to municipal water systems,
  • connecting over 1,400 households to municipal waste-water systems,
  • treating waste water to a higher quality in over 7,300 households,
  • diverting more than 3,100 tonnes of solid waste per year through recycling and composting,
  • reducing solid waste production by approximately 885 tonnes per year, and
  • increasing library circulation by 55,000 books per year.

Overall, the CMIP was a successful program that facilitated the development of relationships between the three levels of government and created opportunities for jobs with its focus on improving infrastructure, the minister said, adding the cost-shared funding under this program allowed the partners to support projects collectively that they could not afford individually.

“The opinion of all municipal leaders is important,” said Lemieux.  “I am looking forward to hearing from municipal leaders across the province so we can shape the next cost-shared infrastructure programs to meet municipal priorities.”

Manitoba and its population continue to grow and thrive; current cost-shared infrastructure programs such as the Building Canada Fund – Communities Component, as well as past programs such as the Infrastructure Stimulus Fund, and Building Canada Fund – Communities Component Top-up, provide significant assistance in this continuing trend, Lemieux said.  These cost-shared programs have been met with an overwhelming number of applications providing evidence of the continued need for cost-shared infrastructure programming in Manitoba, he added.