Atlantic mayors demand aid for rotting infrastructure
Mayors from the Atlantic provinces stood united Thursday as they demanded long-term funding commitments from Ottawa and the provinces to stop municipal infrastructure from crumbling.
The mayors agreed at the Atlantic Mayors' Congress to insist the federal government pledge to stopping infrastructure rot sooner rather than later, and to stick with it for the long haul.
The latest estimate of how much it would cost to bring aging roads and water and sewer systems across the country up to scratch is $171 billion.
The town of Conception Bay South, where the conference is being held, needs an extra $20 million to bring its sewage treatment plant up to the latest federal standards.
Federation of Canadian Municipalities president Karen Leibovici said the mayors must act quickly.
"We have about three months I would say, probably a little less than that, to look forward to budget 2013," said Leibovici, adding that the federation will present their demands to the federal finance committee.
However, the mayors are not just asking Ottawa for greater commitments.
Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Kathy Dunderdale spoke at the conference on Thursday, and it seemed every local mayor expected something regarding their long-standing request for a new fiscal arrangement with the provincial government.
Dunderdale, however, did not utter a single word about a new agreement with financially strapped municipalities.
Instead, the premier concentrated on Muskrat Falls, while briefly touching on topics including pooling resources, regional co-operation, and amalgamation.
"I'm not disappointed or shocked," said Mount Pearl Mayor Randy Simms. "But yeah, I'm a little surprised that the focus wasn't more on that."
The Congress represents communities from Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.