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WHEREAS the New Building Canada Fund provides $848 million for medium and large scale projects and $94 million over 10 years for Small Communities Fund which provides funding to municipalities with populations under 100,000; and
WHEREAS small communities with a population under 10,000 (Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties definition of a small community) require essential infrastructure services in addition to MSI Operating and Capital Funding; and
WHEREAS approximately 33% of the Alberta population lives in communities under 10,000 population and should have guaranteed equal access to the $94 million available from the Small Communities Fund;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties lobby the Government of Alberta to designate a minimum of one-third of the Small Communities Fund ($94 million) for communities under 10,000 population for essential infrastructure projects.
New Building Canada Fund: Provincial-Territorial Infrastructure Component – Small Communities Fund
What is it?
The $10-billion Provincial-Territorial Infrastructure Component (PTIC) provides support for projects of national, local or regional significance. This includes the Small Communities Fund (PTIC–SCF) that will provide $1 billion for projects in municipalities with fewer than 100,000 residents.
Why is it important?
Smaller communities will be able to build projects that deliver on local needs. Through the Small Communities Fund, our Government continues to provide dedicated funding for small communities, building on the successful practices established under the 2007 Building Canada Fund and the Infrastructure Stimulus Fund. In addition, communities can use the Gas Tax Fund towards a wider range of projects, including highways, disaster mitigation, broadband, brownfield redevelopment, recreation, culture, tourism and sport.
How does it work?
To ensure that small communities receive funding opportunities, ten per cent (10%) of the PTIC allocation of each province and territory will be set aside for the PTIC–SCF.
Infrastructure Canada will enter into funding agreements with the provinces and territories who will be responsible for identifying and proposing projects for consideration.
Projects funded through the PTIC–SCF must meet the following program objectives:
Eligible recipients under the PTIC–SCF:
Eligible recipients are restricted to those whose projects are situated within or are for the benefit of, communities with a population of fewer than one hundred thousand people (100,000) as determined by Statistics Canada — Final 2011 Census.
The following are eligible recipients for the purposes of the PTIC–SCF:
Eligible Categories under the PTIC–SCF:
2-12F: Advocacy in Support of a New Long-Term Federal Plan for Municipal Infrastructure Funding
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the AAMDC endorses the FCM campaign and urges the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities to work with FCM to ensure the new long-term infrastructure plan meets the core infrastructure needs of municipalities and is fully in place when existing programs expire in 2014.
DEVELOPMENTS: In the 2013 federal budget, the government announced plans for new infrastructure funding such as permanently implementing the Gas Tax Fund with the introduction of a 2% annual indexation. The AAMDC understands that Transport Canada did consult with FCM on its new long-term infrastructure plan but the government has not supported all of FCM’s requests.
Additionally, in February 2014, the Government of Canada released some information on the new Building Canada Fund (BCF). It included $10 billion over 10 years in a Provincial/Territorial Component, $1 billion of which will form a Communities Component reserved for municipalities with populations of less than 100,000. Despite this progress, there are several details that have still not been made available, including how municipalities can apply for BCF funding, and whether local road improvements will be eligible for funding under the new eligibility categories.
The Government of Canada proclaimed the new BCF to be “open for business” on March 28, 2014 and directed Alberta municipalities to contact Alberta Infrastructure for application details. Alberta Infrastructure indicated that they were surprised by this announcement, as no progress had been made with the federal government in setting eligibility criteria or application processes. Further, Alberta Infrastructure indicated that it would be unlikely that the Provincial/Territorial Component of the new BCF would be ready in time for the 2014 construction season. As such, the AAMDC deems the government response to this resolution as Unsatisfactory.
Municipal Affairs: The Small Communities Fund (SCF) is governed by an agreement between Canada and Alberta. Alberta must meet all of its obligations under the agreement, including the definition of eligible municipalities.
Municipal Affairs discussed the development of the SCF program guidelines with the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties and the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association, and has considered the input from the associations.
The SCF was officially rolled out February 26, 2015. The application information can be found on Municipal Affairs web site at: http://municipalaffairs.alberta.ca/smallcommunitiesfund.cfm.
Infrastructure: Infrastructure currently administers the National Infrastructure Component and Provincial Territorial Infrastructure Component – National and Regional Projects of the New Building Canada Fund.
The province’s position for the New Building Fund has been to leverage existing capital plan projects in order to provide the best value for Alberta taxpayers and municipalities. This approach builds upon investments already made in the provincial capital plan.
he eligibility requirements for Alberta’s allotment of the Small Communities Fund (SCF) have been finalized and the application period closed on April 2, 2015. At this point, there is no chance that the funding will be subdivided to reserve a portion for communities under 10,000 because the program is complete. The current SCF format places all municipalities with a population below 100,000 in direct competition with one another for limited SCF funding, despite that fact that this population threshold makes every municipality in Alberta eligible for SCF funding, with the exception of Calgary and Edmonton.
As the SCF will have only one intake opportunity, which has already been completed, there will be no opportunity to revise the eligibility parameters unless the program is renewed following the completion of the New Building Canada Fund in 2024 (assuming a similar program is continued in 2024). The status of this resolution is Intent Not Met.
Phase 2 of the Investing in Canada programs (the Government of Canada’s current infrastructure funding program) includes a $2 billion Rural and Northern Communities component. The AAMDC has advocated to the provincial and federal governments on the importance of allowing for provincial-specific definitions of “rural communities” that are negotiated among provincial/territorial governments and municipal associations. This would allow for an Alberta-specific definition of “rural community” that better reflects local conditions.