We have seen record levels of spending by provincial and federal governments in recent months as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, but two local municipalities had their applications for federal-provincial infrastructure grant rejected.

The Town of Hawkesbury was hoping to receive an Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP) Community, Culture, and Recreation grant to cover part of the $1,770,000 cost of a new ice rink refrigeration system at the Robert Hartley Sports Complex.  However, during a council meeting on August 11, Dominique Dussault, who is overseeing the Recreation and Tourism Department on an interim basis, told council that the grant application had been rejected.

“I’m very disappointed,” said Mayor Paula Assaly, upon receiving the news.  She said not receiving the grant was very unfortunate, especially for an important, necessary project.

On September 10, Assaly said that no decision has been made yet on how the cost of the new refrigeration system will be paid for, but it will be discussed during the upcoming 2021 municipal budget process.

Nation told no

On August 7, La Nation Municipality Recreation Director Carol Ann Scott received an email from the Ontario Ministry of Infrastructure stating that the municipality’s application for an ICIP grant to cover some of the cost of the planned $9.4 million Limoges sports complex and community hall had been rejected.

The email explained that the volume of applications resulted in a highly competitive selection process.  The total demand across Ontario was approximately $10 billion and only $1 billion was available from the joint federal-provincial funding allocation.

La Nation Ward 4 Councillor Francis Brière, who represents Limoges, is confident that the lack of grant funding will not jeopardize the project.  On September 11, he said that the municipality will have to keep the cost of the project within its $10 million budget.

Brière said that the architects are now reviewing the design and will be recommending changes to reduce the cost.  Brière said that he does not want to speculate on what those changes could be and wanted to leave it up to the architects to make the recommendations.

Likewise, Champlain Township received word that its application for funding to the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario’s (FedDev Ontario) Community Economic Development and Diversification program stream had been rejected. The refusal letter was contained in the agenda package for council’s regular meeting, which took place on September 10.

One Champlain Township application was through the Community Economic Development and Diversification, a program from FedDev Ontario. The township applied for $261,795 on a total project value of $349,000. This project was a proposal to hire a resource person to assist business owners and entrepreneurs to complete grant applications and to assist with grant reporting.

A second one was to the Community, Culture and Recreation Stream – Rehabilitation and Renovation Intake of the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP). The township applied for $1,666,666 on a total $2,000,000 project. This funding would have been for rehabilitation of the Vankleek Hill Arena/Community Centre.