Question for Ashcroft council re: funding request

A reader writes to ask what council is doing about approaching the federal government for more infrastructure funding.

Dear Editor,

I am placing this in the “Letters to the Editor” portion of The Journal because I suspect I am not the only Ashcroft resident interested in the answer.

In the spring budget, the federal government announced that new infrastructure projects would be financed by a formula different to what had occurred in the past. Now, the Liberal government was going to provide 50 per cent of the funding, the provinces would continue at 33 per cent, and local government would provide 17 per cent.

Each level of government provided our water grant at 33 per cent under the old formula. In addition, local taxpayers are burdened with any increases as a result of our slumping dollar. We have just voted to approve borrowing more than $4 million to cover our 33 per cent, and the anticipated cost of buying equipment for the filtration plant from American suppliers.

In March or April, it was suggested to council that they should be approaching our new member of parliament and seeking his help to get additional funding to bring us up to the 50 per cent now provided as the federal share and reducing local government’s contribution to 17 per cent. At public meetings in early May and again in July, council was asked to tell us what progress they had made in the their discussions with MP Jati Sidhu. Nothing had been done; not even an appointment to see him had been booked. In reading the August 2016 newsletter from the village, I had hoped to read about any progress that council had made in this regard. Another six weeks has passed and there is no new news.

Would council like to provide an update on this issue? It would have been a huge incentive to the voters for council to announce success on the request before the referendum voting. However, the mayor has continuously told us the village will only borrow what they need, so it is not too late to get more funding from the federal government and reduce our borrowing.

I look forward to council’s response.

Monty Downs

Ashcroft

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