A Kelowna city councillor says the federal government’s promise of $53 billion over 10 years for municipal infrastructure across the country is a good start but it falls well short of the $200 billion that’s needed.
Coun. Colin Basran, who represented Kelowna at the recent Federation of Canadian Municipalities convention in Vancouver, along with Coun. Maxine DeHart and Coun Robert Hobson, who was doing double duty as he is also the chairman of the Central Okanagan Regional District, said while the federal offer is clearly not enough, he hopes some of the promised money finds its way here as the city has several big ticket infrastructure projects coming up.
Basran said with projects like a new Lakeshore Bridge, rebuilding the Parkinson Recreation Centre, an extension of Highway 33, Hall Road sewers and a new RCMP detachement building all on the city’s planing horizon, federal funds will help.
But with municipalities being responsible for 60 per cent of the country’s infrastructure and only getting eight cents of every tax dollar back from Ottawa, the federal government has to play a bigger role to play in future, he said.
“Obviously the FCM needs to do a better job banging the table,” said Basran.
And he said if he runs for a second term on council in 2014 and is successful, he would like to also run for an FCM executive position to help bring that about.
“I’m a huge supporter of the FCM,” said Basran. “It’s a chance to shape federal policies at the municipal level.
DeHart said she is also a big supporter of FCM and said last weekend’s convention afforded her the opportunity to participate in a number of very interesting field visits and workshops that could provide valuablel information for Kelowna.
One was how the Metro Vancouver plans to deal with its waste on a regional level in future and another was how the issue of streetside food carts can be dealt with so they not only enhance the city but also do not impede business for local restaurants.
She said the information she gathered will be passed on to city officials here.
DeHart was in Vancouver for private business meetings prior to the FCM convention and stayed to represent the city. Becuase of that, she said, taxpayers did not have to pay for her to travel to Vancouver.