NORTH DURHAM: Three infrastructure projects in North Durham received a funding boost on Wednesday, July 29, thanks to a three tiered partnership between local municipalities, the federal and provincial governments.
The announcement was made in Bowmanville, where MP Erin O’Toole and MPP Granville Anderson allocated funding of more than $8 million to Scugog, Uxbridge and the Mississauga’s of Scugog Island through the Small Communities Fund.
MPP Anderson said in a press release that the donations “address urgent local needs, from providing clean, safe water to improved highway safety.”
There was great fanfare, as $2.5 million was contributed from both levels of government to the township of Uxbridge towards replacing the downtown culvert under Brock St. Mayor Gerri Lynn O’Connor explained that the completion of the project will give Uxbridge council and residents greater peace of mind.
“We have a huge culvert under our downtown core and if we had a major flood like we’ve seen in the last years in Toronto and Newmarket, the water would be up to the second floor of those apartment buildings,” she said. “This means so much for us as a community, and it means I can go to bed at night and hear a storm warning and not have to bring my water wings.”
Mayor O’Connor also added that she hopes the project will begin as soon as they can.
Cost to replace the culvert is estimated to be about $10 million, and the project has already gone through environmental assessments and public meetings.
Scugog Township also received $1.5 million from the Federal and Provincial government to reconstruct a section of Scugog Line 6. Deputy Mayor and Ward 2 Councillor Janna Guido told The Standard that getting this project underway is a key to the future growth of the municipality.
“It means absolutely everything to our community. It can bring new industry into our community to connect one end of Scugog to the other,” she said. “Our existing industry will benefit greatly from this as well as potential developments.”
The township expects to begin work on the Line 6 project in 2016.
Both levels of government also contributed $1.1 million towards a new water treatment and supply system on Scugog Island. Mississaugas Chief Kelly LaRocca said that this announcement is very important for the community.
“It will mean clean drinking water for members of Scugog Island First Nation and their families and it is extremely important because we have been on a drinking water advisory consistently since 2008,” she said. “We are very excited at the chance of cleaning that up and moving forward quite frankly.”
Chief LaRocca also added that she is happy that the Mississaugas were recognized by both upper levels of government.
“It means that the Federal and Provincial governments recognize us as a valuable community partner, but they also don’t classify Scugog Island First Nation as just like a municipality,” she said. “It’s nice because they include us in opportunities alongside other municipalities while still respecting our cultural heritage.”
A feasibility study on the project is near completion and Chief LaRocca added she hopes they can begin work soon on the project.
The Federal and Provincial governments have both designated about $272 million for projects in communities with a population of less than 100,000.
MP Erin O’Toole told The Standard that assistance for smaller communities to help them fund key infrastructure projects was the reason for the creation of the fund and the partnership.
“Places like Scugog and Uxbridge have a hard time raising funds for critical infrastructure because they are smaller tax areas, and in the case of Scugog and Uxbridge they are also limited in development by the Oak Ridges Moraine,” he said. “We created this fund specifically for projects that were key for these small communities.”