To the Editor,
Imagine that we are in 2030, 2040 or even 2050. Our municipality has the infrastructure and services it needs, affordable housing is available according to needs and we are adequately prepared to deal with the next climatic disruption. We spend less time avoiding potholes, dealing with floods and sewer backups. We can thus devote more time to building projects for the future, for our residents by relying on reliable municipal infrastructure and services to support our local economy and businesses, and especially for our children during all stages of their life.
Now imagine trying to meet these current needs with a municipal financial system designed in the 19th century. It does not stand up! Yet this is the reality facing cities today. Outdated sources of income must fund frontline services, roads, culverts, parks, public buildings, water treatment, waste collection, seasonal maintenance, planning, and municipal management in addition to all the other services that we will assume as local governments.
Canada has just reached the 40 million mark. We are in full growth. This is a good thing, but cities must be well equipped to deal with it. And to do this, major issues must be resolved, such as housing, transport infrastructure, climate resilience, all of which put increasing pressure on municipal resources.
Responsible for more than 60 per cent of public infrastructure, municipal governments today find themselves pushed to the limit of their capacities by harvesting only 10 per cent of the taxes. So, how can we ensure that our communities are ready to support growth and guarantee a better quality of life for all?
Municipal elected officials have a bold plan. In May, as part of the annual congress of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), municipalities have come together and adopted a resolution calling for national discussions on a new framework for municipal growth, a framework which, from now on, would better combine local resources with national dynamics such as population and economic growth.
Over the next few months, the Ville de Lachute will work alongside the FCM to hold frank discussions with provincial and federal governments about what it might look like to establish a new municipal growth framework for all cities across the country. We hope these exchanges will make it possible to demonstrate how such a framework will help to not only maintain our quality of life, but also to improve it.
Let’s ensure that growth means success in our communities, and that elected officials get the resources they need to build a better future for all.
Bernard Bigras-Denis, Mayor
Ville de Lachute