Federal Minister of International Trade Diversification Jim Carr came to Selkirk on Monday and he brought with him the best kind of news for Capital Region mayors and reeves – more than $3.2 billion that flows directly from the Government of Canada to their municipalities.
The Association of Manitoba Municipalities (AMM), of which Selkirk Mayor Larry Johannson is chair of the Cities Caucus and Councillor Kelly Cook is a Board Director, asked Selkirk to host Carr’s visit. The city was more than happy to oblige.
Johannson said Selkirk is a city that is thriving and has benefited from a strong working relationship with the federal government and you only need to look to the new Waste Water Treatment Plant, Manitoba Ave Active Transportation Pathway, the City’s fleet of transit and mobility buses and the coming redevelopment of Manitoba Avenue East, to name a few, for proof of the results.
“I attribute our success to working together, to partnerships, to thinking regionally, and opening up to our neighbours and working together,” Johannson said.
“We are proud of the fact that the City of Selkirk is recognized as a leader in climate change and in asset management, and we’re happy to welcome Minister Carr back to Selkirk once again.”
Gas tax revenue doubled for municipalities
Carr told the mayors and reeves they would share in $2.2 billion in gas tax revenue – double the normal amount – which for Selkirk will provide a boost of over $500,000 for future infrastructure projects. Canada will provide a further $1 billion that, through the Federation for Canadian Municipalities (FCM), will go to improve energy efficiencies in homes and larger buildings in communities.
“The federal budget had some very good news for municipalities across the country,” Carr said.
“The Government of Canada has taken the decision to distribute $2.2 billion (in gas tax) across the country directly to the municipalities…and there’s no requirement to ask any level of government what to do with the money, the money is yours to spend.”
The gas tax bump is a one-time contribution, but Carr said he agreed it should be increased and he’d be on board to support municipalities in any lobby efforts they had.
The other $1 billion will be transferred to FCM through the Green Municipal Fund and be available to municipalities through three separate programs.
Municipalities will be able to apply for a share of $350 million through the Collaboration on Community Climate Action fund, which provides municipalities and non-profit organizations with financing and grants to retrofit and improve the energy efficiency of large community buildings as well as community pilot and demonstration projects. FCM and the Low Carbon Cities Canada Initiatives will create a network across Canada that will support local community actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Under the Community EcoEfficiency Acceleration, another $300 million will provide financing for municipal initiatives to support home energy efficiency retrofits. Homeowners could qualify for assistance in replacing furnaces and installing renewable energy technologies.
A further $300 million is available through the Sustainable Affordable Housing Innovation to provide financing and support to affordable housing developments to improve energy efficiency in new and existing housing and support on-site energy generation.
Finally, $60 million goes to the Municipal Asset Management Capacity Fund to help small communities get skills training on how to catalogue, grow and maintain infrastructure assets over five years.