Manitoba

City still jittery about provincial cash commitments for major projects

City of Winnipeg finance officials are expressing more concerns about provincial funding for major projects in Winnipeg.

Finance committee told there's no guarantee money will arrive; province says 2017 promises will be honoured

Council finance chair Scott Gillingham says he expects the province to come through. (Gary Solilak/CBC)

City of Winnipeg finance officials are expressing more concerns about provincial funding for major projects in Winnipeg.

Winnipeg chief financial officer Mike Ruta told city council's finance committee Thursday there is no guarantee Premier Brian Pallister's Progressive Conservative government will follow through on its commitment to provide Winnipeg with $109.2 million for capital projects in 2017.

To date, the province has held back $54 million, according to a city finance report. Ruta said the city will know for certain what it will receive before the end of the province's fiscal year, which concludes on March 31.

He also said it's unclear what the province will transfer to the city for capital funding for 2018.

Ruta made his comments two days after Mayor Brian Bowman complained the province is trying to renegotiate the terms of a deal to complete the Southwest Transitway and widen Pembina Highway at the Jubilee Avenue underpass.​

Council finance chair Scott Gillingham (St. James-Brooklands-Weston) said while the two levels of government are meeting about the transitway project, he doesn't know why there is not better communication about capital funding overall.

"I can tell you that we are doing all we can, from the City of Winnipeg's point of view, to make sure we're in communication with the province and are providing them what they're asking for," Gillingham said.

"We fully expect the province, as a partner, to dialogue with us as a partner and they understand the obligations that we have, and we expect through the dialogue for them to come forward to us with their funding."

Caitlin MacGregor, a spokesperson for the provincial government, said in a statement the province will honour its $109-million commitment for 2017 capital funding.

The city will have to wait for the provincial budget to be tabled to learn about 2018 funding, she added.

The provincial budget is slated for March 12.

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