By Joel Wittnebel/The Oshawa Express
Through a new initiative from the federal government, Oshawa has secured some much-desired funds to improve key pieces of community infrastructure, including work at the RMG and expanding public wi-fi services.
The Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Program is set to provide $150 million to communities across the country in conjunction with Canada’s 150th birthday in 2017.
Ontario’s allotment totals $44.4 million. Oshawa is eyeing $1.637 million in improvements around the city with the hope that the feds will cover half the tab.
The five key projects listed in the city’s application sent last month include the work at the RMG and wi-fi expansion along with rehabilitation of the Mary Street parking garage, rehabilitation of the Northview Community Centre roof, and the rehabilitation of the airport’s roof system and mausoleum façade.
“We’re very conscious on every opportunity that comes up and we do look for every dollar that we can get out of both levels of government for infrastructure funding,” says Mayor John Henry.
One hundred and fifty thousand dollars, or half of the expected $300,000 price tag, will flow to the city for the expansion of wireless Internet in city libraries and recreation facilities and another $50,000 will be put toward work at the RMG which includes making bathrooms more accessible.
Of the five projects, rehab work of the Mary Street garage comes with the largest price tag. Exterior repairs, structural and water proofing repairs, along with replacing the roof will cost approximate $530,000.
Another $340,000 is needed replace the roof at the Northview Community Centre and $367,000 for the work at the airport.
More details are set to come this week on the remaining projects.
For the city’s $668,500, half of the bill will come from their Conditions Audit Reserve and the remaining $150,000 would be pulled from the IT Reserve.
The projects would become part of the 2016 budget if approved, and work must begin before March 31, 2018 according to the CIP 150 program.
Currently, the city’s Condition Audit Reserve sits in a $256,000 deficit.
According to Stephanie Sinnot, the city’s interim director of finance the money would be made up through annual budget contributions to the reserve.
“If it goes into a deficit in one year, but it’s going to be recovered through future contributions from the budget, then it’s not usually an issue,” she says.
“We’re not eligible to spend any of the money until 2016, so we can accommodate that through our budget process.”
Current projections show the conditions audit reserve out of deficit in 2017.
The IT Reserve currently contains $952,000.