Council to Brainstorm How to Get Federal Infrastructure Dollars

It’s an unusual week when there’s two council meetings, but the second gathering of city council next week will be, itself, unusual. On Thursday, the members of city council will go through their list of capital projects to decide which should get the benefit of Federal infrastructure money.

According to Chief Administrative Officer Ann Pappert, Thursday’s meeting will be a workshop to review staff’s draft list of projects, and then council will offer direction as to how best to proceed with the application. “We are using the existing, recently approved capital budget of 2016 and the 2017-2025 projected capital budget,” Pappert said in an email. “Those were subject to public delegations before the holiday break.”

There are a lot of infrastructure projects on the books, each with a very specific need and degree of immediacy, so council and staff will be looking at “Coordinating and identifying the best range of projects to submit requires a host for considerations ranging from financial through to shovel ready and shovel worthy strategies,” when they meet Thursday night, said Pappert. “Scott Stewart our DCAO of Infrastructure, Development and Enterprise is marshaling a team of staff to bring our final draft list forward early next week.”

Pappert explained that this is merely the “first intake” of applications, with a deadline of early April. The aim of this round will focus on maintenance projects that can put shovels in the ground sometime in 2016. There will be an additional application process that will begin sometime after the Federal Budget is tabled, which maybe sometime in the latter half of March, and the City will be then looking at more long-term projects to apply for then. “We are preparing that list as well,” she added. “These projects appear to be for more multi-year items.”

“We’re also working closely with MP Longfield and MPP [Liz] Sandals to ensure all three levels of government are aligning,” Pappert said. Lloyd Longfield will be in attendance at the council meeting, but his office told me that even though he’s listed as a delegate, he will merely be observing.

Pappert is confident that the city can put up a good application, even though there’s been a time crunch in getting the details ready for the meeting. “Staff have worked very long hours this past week to position ourselves for this opportunity so … we’re ahead of the curve,” she added.

The meeting begins Thursday at 5 pm in the council chambers.

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