WHEREAS the Government of Canada outlined in the 1999 Speech from the Throne, a new vision of 21st century infrastructure to improve the quality of life for Canadians and make a long-term contribution towards a dynamic economy;AND WHEREAS Canada and Alberta agreed that an infrastructure program for the construction, renewal, expansion, or material enhancement of infrastructure throughout Canada would contribute to improving the quality of life for all Canadians and build the foundation for sustained long-term economic growth for the 21st century;AND WHEREAS the Infrastructure Canada-Alberta Program (ICAP) is implementing this national vision in Alberta through the funding of municipal infrastructure via a partnership program between the federal, provincial and municipal governments, wherein in general, each level of government contributes a third of the total eligible costs of any given project;AND WHEREAS over the life of the program (until March 31, 2006), ICAP will direct $508 million towards: municipal water and wastewater systems, municipal roads, bridges and transit, affordable housing, solid waste disposal and recycling, tourism, cultural or recreation facilities, or projects to improve energy efficiencies of municipal buildings;AND WHEREAS in Alberta, 17.7% of the total available funds were to be spent in rural Alberta and used for water and wastewater projects, and are being distributed through the Rural Municipal Green Component of the Infrastructure Canada-Alberta Program;AND WHEREAS the available funding ($90 million) will fund only 23.56% of the $382 million in applications that were submitted by rural municipalities over the two year application period, thereby indicating a very high demand for rural infrastructure development.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties urge the Government of Alberta and the Government of Canada to commit additional funding for water and wastewater project development under the Rural Municipal Green Component of the Infrastructure Canada-Alberta Program for an additional two-year period, by committing an additional $90 million to this program.
The Infrastructure Canada-Alberta Program agreement was signed on October 10, 2000, and the agreement forms a partnership program between the federal, provincial and municipal governments to fund municipal infrastructure.Over the duration of the program, ICAP will direct $508 million towards: municipal water and wastewater systems; municipal roads, bridges and transit; affordable housing; solid waste disposal and recycling; tourism, cultural or recreation facilities; or projects to improve energy efficiencies in municipal buildings.In Alberta, 69.7% of the funding is being distributed on an entitlement basis to municipalities. In this way, every municipality benefits from the Infrastructure CanadaAlberta program. The entitlement amount is based on population in urban areas, and on population, condition of roads, and tax base in rural areas. A total of 17.7% of the funds are used for water and wastewater projects for rural Alberta, and 12.6% of the funds are used for strategic projects of interest to the federal and provincial governments.The program in Alberta is being implemented by Western Economic Diversification Canada and Alberta Transportation, and is administered by a joint secretariat. The ICAP Management Committee that oversees the administration of the Program is composed of representatives from the Governments of Canada and Alberta, the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association (AUMA) and the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties (AAMD&C).The Rural Municipal Green Program (RMG) of ICAP only funds green projects that include: water, wastewater or drainage projects, or joint water, wastewater and drainage projects. Applications submitted to the RMG Program are ranked on five components:1. Health, Safety and Public Good2. Environmental Factors3. Economic and Additional Benefits4. Project Management and Viability5. Local Commitment and Public InputThe highest ranked projects, up to the budget limitation, are forwarded to the Management Committee of ICAP for review and approval.The demand for funding assistance under the Rural Municipal Green Plan, has been very high. Over the two years of the program, rural municipalities have submitted $382 million in applications for the available $90 million in funding. The funding requests certainly point to the need for additional funds for rural infrastructure.
The AAMDC has no resolutions currently in effect with respect to this issue. However, the Association has met with federal officials, including Alberta MP and federal Health Minister Anne McLellan, to advocate additional federal funding for rural water and sewer infrastructure. The association has also relayed this request to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance, as part of the Committees annual pre-budget consultations.