December 18, 2013

Province denies funding for bridge replacement

As published in The Erin Advocate

The Town of Erin’s bid for a $2 million grant to help rebuild the dam and bridge on Station Street in Hillsburgh has been denied by the provincial government, citing high property values and average incomes in this area.

A denial letter received last week says more than 350 applications were received from Ontario municipalities under the Small, Rural and Northern Municipal Infrastructure Fund Capital Program.

“Other applicants with highly critical projects had more challenging economic conditions (as measured by property assessments and incomes),” said the letter from the Ministry of Rural Affairs.

Finance Director Sharon Marshall said other municipalities in Wellington County, some with property assessments lower than Erin’s, got similar denials. The exception was an application from the Town of Minto, which was allowed to proceed to the next phase of the grant process.

Work on the Station Street dam, bridge and road is expected to cost more than $2 million, regardless of whether the dam is preserved. The Town thought it had a good chance for funding, since the project affects public safety and is extremely expensive in comparison to other Town projects.

Council has made no decision on the project, but is facing a provincial deadline of next June to complete an environmental assessment and a plan to rehabilitate that infrastructure.