By Stephen Dafoe
Morinville – Citing a new report that shows some 30 per cent of Canada’s municipal infrastructure is rated fair to very poor, Council passed a resolution endorsing Target 2014: Building our Future, a Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) campaign launched this year to make sure municipalities have the funding they need to keep roads and sewers in working condition.
The Canadian Infrastructure Report Card 2012, published by the FCM and three partner construction and engineering associations, outlines the state of the nation’s roads and sewers. That report, the first of its kind, is designed to help the organization keep some pressure on the federal government to develop and implement new long-term infrastructure funding for municipalities before $2 billion in existing funding expires in 2014.
The infrastructure deficit is something of concern to the national organization. According to their report, there is an annual combined $4.2 billion deficit among seven major western cities between Winnipeg and Victoria.
The FCM report indicates more than half of the nation’s roads surveyed were in less than good condition, and one in four were operating over capacity in terms of traffic.
Wastewater facilities are in a similar state according to the report. Forty per cent of the nation’s wastewater plants, pumping stations and storage tanks were rated fair to very poor. Additionally, 30 per cent of pipes received the same low ratings. The report indicates even infrastructure in better condition may require upgrading due to stringent federal regulations governing wastewater.
Council endorses report
Councillor Lisa Holmes, who was impressed with what she read in the report, put the item forward to Administration for inclusion on the agenda. “I personally think it was well written,” she said, adding she was surprised to find 20 per cent of Canadian municipal roads are regarded as in very poor condition. “I think this is something our council can definitely support.”
Council voted unanimously to endorse the report. A letter will now be sent to FCM after which Morinville will be listed as one of the municipalities behind the campaign.
Morinville in better shape than many
Although the report casts a dark cloud over the state of the country’s above and below ground infrastructure above, Morinville is better positioned than some.
It is a situation that was brought up by Councillor Paul Krauskopf during discussion of the FCM report. “We should also remember that Morinville has done a fantastic job of looking after our infrastructure,” Krauskopf said, adding he believed the municipality was ahead of the game with respect to reserve policies and full cost recovery on water and sewer rates.
Using a full cost recovery model for its water and sewer services, the community has ensured capital reserves were in place to meet current and future water and wastewater infrastructure needs. The recently passed Municipal Development Plan indicates Morinville currently has water and sewer capacity to support a population of 30,000.
The full FCM national infrastructure report is available online at canadainfrastructure.ca.