The annual conference for Mayors is taking place in Ottawa. Lots of interesting speakers and timely information. Had the opportunity to meet with Minister Chiarelli to update him on our progress with building the new waste water system and to remind him of our financial challenges. He continues to be receptive.
Last Friday, CAO Snider, Treasurer Koiner and I had a teleconference with a staff member from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA), to discuss the short comings of our OCIF3 application. It was during this discussion, that we learned that the launch for the next round of grants – OCIF4 – will be before the end of spring 2017. This is significant as previous OCIF launches have been in the fall. One of the conditions of the OCIF grant programme is that eligible expenses date back to the day of the launch. What does this mean for Westport? If we are successful getting OCIF4, all eligible expenses after the launch date (June 21) will the covered.
Accordingly, the work schedule has been adjusted by one month, so that work begins mid-June rather than mid-May. We are, once again, applying to the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change for approval to spray irrigate in order to avoid hauling.
The advocacy with the government, on behalf of the Village, continues. I have a meeting with Minister Chiarelli, Minister of Infrastructure in Toronto on Thursday and continue to be in contact with the Premier’s office, pushing for a meeting with her.
Thank you to everyone who sent letters and emails to members of the Ontario government. I can assure you that they have not fallen on deaf ears.
When we learned that Westport had been turned down for OCIF3, CAO Paul Snyder wrote to the 4 Ministers involved with municipal and infrastructure mandates and asked for meetings. To date, Minister Mauro has indicated that his schedule is too busy and here is the letter from Minister Leal, Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. This is the Ministry that makes the decisions on how the OCIF3 grants are awarded It is difficult to understand the blatant refusal of an elected official to meet and instead offer a form letter that simply states, in the politically correct way, no grant for Westport.
I also followed up with the Premier’s office on Friday in the attempt to book a meeting with her. I have learned from a very competent Scheduling Assistant in the Premier’s office that my request will be considered on Monday. I will keep you informed on her decision.
Many thanks to our MPP Steve Clarke, who continues to work on our behalf with the individual Ministers.
MAR 1 6 2017
Minlstere de I’Agriculture, de l’Alimentatlon et des Affaires rurales
Bureau du ministre
77, rue Grenville, 11° etage Toronto (Ontario) M7A 183 Tel. : 416 326-3074
Telec. :416 326-3083
Mr. Paul Snider CAO/Clerk
Village of Westport email@example.com
Dear Mr. Snider:
Thank you for your letter regarding your submission to the 2016 Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund (OCIF) Top-Up Application Component. Iam pleased to respond.
Investing in key infrastructure is part of our government’s pl n to help create jobs, grow our economy and connect communities.
I appreciate the importance of this project to your community. This year’s intake was very competitive. The total funding requested exceeded the funding that was .available and, as a result, not all applications could be funded.
We heard from small, rural and northern communities about the importance of stable and predictable investments in local infrastructure. That is why our government is tripling its investments through OCIF – ramping·up from $100 million in 2016 to $300 million a year by 2019. Over the next three years·OCIF will invest over $670 million to help. municipalities across Ontario improve local infrastructure.
I understand that, to date, the village has received $50,000 in OCIF formula-based funding ·to use toward critical infrastructure projects. I understand that your municipality will receive an additional $150,000 in formula-based funding between 2017 and 2019. This funding can be used toward this project or other eligible projects tht have been identified as a priority in your municipality’s asset management plan.
The 2017 intake of the OCIF Top-Up Application Component will launch this spring, which will provide your municipality with another opportunity to apply for infrastructure funding.
Approximately $100 million will be available for the 2017 intake, which is almost double the size of the previous intake, providing significantly more support for critical infrastructure projects across Ontario.
I would encourage you to contact your Project Analyst, Stephen Hamblin. He can answer any additional questions you may have about the assessment process and offer some advice that may be helpful for future submissions.
Our government is building Ontario up with a clear, predictable and long-term commitment to improve infrastructure that will help support communities.
Again, thank you for writing. Sincerely,
Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
Minister Responsible for Small Business
In 2015, the Village and Clerk were each charged in 2015 with 2 counts in relation to the operation of the waste water treatment plant in the winter season of 2013/2014. Today, the Village pled guilty to one charge, failing to properly operate and maintain the sewage treatment plant. All other charges against the Village and Clerk were withdrawn.
Condition 6.1 of the ECA (certificate that authorizes use of waste water treatment plant) requires the Village to ensure that the sewage treatment plant and related equipment is properly operated and maintained, which is defined to include effective performance, adequate operator staffing and training.
Part of the evidence, agreed to by both the Crown Prosecutor and Village, read at court was, “The Village did not produce enough snowfluent in the 2013/14 season, demonstrating a lack of effective performance of the system. After the former operator was terminated, the Town hired another operator in early 2014. No back up operator was hired. The new operator had a pre-planned vacation prior to being hired and was therefore not available for two weeks in February, prime snowfluent generation season, and as a result, no snowfluent was produced during that period.”
Mayor and Council felt that it was in the best interest of the Village to accept the option to plead to this one charge and turn the page on that part of our history. The fine is $10,000 and the Village has 12 months to pay. The fine would have been substantially more if the Prosecutor hadn’t taken into consideration that the Village is replacing the aging system in 2017.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Councillor of your choice or me at 613-273-9195.