On Thursday, CAO Snyder and I had a teleconference with staff from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) and Ministry of Infrastructure (MOI). OMAFRA has the responsibility of assessing the OCIF3 applications and deciding which are successful. The meeting was frustrating to say the least. We were told that our situation is not “critical enough” when weighed against the merits of all of the projects and our financial ability to pay. A new financial consideration this year is just that … the project cost per household … and ours wasn’t enough to bump the project up into the successful category. Seriously!!!! They said it was a very well written and concise application that thoroughly explained the project and our situation in the Village. However, at the end of the conversation with these Ministry staff, there was still no OCIF money or any other support for Westport from the provincial government. They suggested we try again in 2018, however were quick to say that there was no guarantee that we would be successful.
I was clear that we don’t have “next year” for getting a grant for this project. Council has decided that it is necessary, for a variety of reasons, to build the new waste water treatment system in 2017.
The Minister of Infrastructure’s office called on Thursday and CAO Snyder and I are meeting with him in Toronto in mid-April. MPP Steve Clark, who has continued to work on our behalf, will be attending the meeting with us. It is my hope that, being a former municipal politician, the Minister will see things less through a bureaucratic lens and more from your perspective – the real people who live and work in Westport.
As always, if you have any questions, please call me or any of the members of Council.