WHEREAS a recent parliamentary budget report on federal government stimulus funding has indicated that as many as 46% of the approved Infrastructure Stimulus Fund (ISF) projects will not meet the March 31, 2011 deadline and that municipal or provincial governments may incur up to $500 million of additional cost resulting from withdrawal of federal stimulus dollars, and;
WHEREAS the report recognizes that delays in the approval of the stimulus grant projects have contributed to projects not being completed on time, and;
WHEREAS higher than average rainfall in Alberta and much of Western Canada has significantly delayed construction projects, such as road construction and road paving, and;
WHEREAS other stimulus projects have been significantly delayed due delays in federal or provincial departmental approvals; and,
WHEREAS the Prime Minister has repeatedly indicated that the federal government will not consider any extension of the stimulus funding programs, for any reason;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties urge the Province of Alberta and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities to lobby the federal government to extend stimulus funding for those projects that have been significantly impacted by delays in regulatory approval or due to significant weather delays.
In the spring of 2009 the federal government created a $20 billion stimulus program to combat the effects of the global recession in Canada. Municipalities were encouraged to submit projects for consideration under the Building Canada Fund and Infrastructure Stimulus Fund. Many municipalities submitted applications however approval for many projects, such as road construction, was received too late in 2009 for the work to begin. Contracts were entered into providing for the work to be completed in 2010.
Municipalities in much of Alberta, and throughout much of Western Canada, have been significantly impacted by above average rainfall through the spring and summer of 2010. Road construction projects are, on average, 6 weeks behind throughout much of central and southern Alberta.
Other projects have been similarly delayed, due to delays in approvals by provincial or federal departments despite significant efforts by municipal staff and/or their engineers to secure the approvals in a timely manner.
As noted in the parliamentary budget report, many of the projects that have been approved under the stimulus funding grant program have contractual obligations associated with them and those municipalities, and the provinces, will be required to make up the federal government share on outstanding projects, should the program not be extended.
The federal government should relax the March 31 deadline as municipal participation in the stimulus program has contributed to additional economic activity and employment. It is unfair and inappropriate for the federal government to reap the economic benefits of the infrastructure activity and then leave municipal/provincial governments to bear the cost, particularly when the federal grant approval process and weather contributed to project delays.
The AAMDC has no active resolutions directly related to this issue.
The AAMDC is pleased with the actions the government has taken towards this resolution. Shortly after this resolution was put before the AAMDC membership, the Government of Canada announced that federal stimulus funding for municipal infrastructure projects could be extended, provided they followed a process to approve the funding extension. The work of the FCM in advocating this position was key to finding success and the AAMDC is satisfied with the outcome and accepts that the intent outlined in this resolution has been met.