The Carr Report - October 2009

Working together to deliver Halton’s infrastructure to Halton taxpayers

Over the summer, some of you may have seen items in the news related to growth in Halton and the cost associated with building infrastructure to support that growth, such as Regional roads, water and wastewater facilities.

There is no doubt that growth is occurring in Halton and will continue to come. Regional Council remains committed to finding sustainable funding solutions – ones that ensure the responsibility for new infrastructure does not fall on the shoulders of Halton’s existing taxpayers.

I am proud to tell you about some significant developments that have taken place in the last few months that are helping Halton deal with this important issue.

On June 22, the federal and provincial governments announced that Halton Region will receive $103 million for the expansion and upgrade of the Skyway Wastewater Treatment Plant in Burlington, making this the largest single investment in municipal infrastructure by both levels of government in Halton’s 35-year history.

This amount is in addition to $44 million announced in June 2009 from the federal and provincial governments’ Infrastructure Stimulus Fund to address Halton’s infrastructure needs. $33.4 million of these dollars will be used for improvements to the Southwest Wastewater Treatment Plant in Oakville and the remaining $10.6 million will go towards the widening of Tremaine Road between Main Street and Derry Road in Milton.

This significant commitment in Halton reflects the strong collaboration between all three levels of government. This is a collaboration that has been developed by Regional Council and staff’s hard work - building on the strong relationships they have in government and making new relationships to ensure the support for Halton’s infrastructure needs is delivered to the residents of Halton.

Also this summer, on Wednesday, July 15, Halton Regional Council voted unanimously to pass the Financial and Implementation Plan for the 2008/2009 Allocation Program (PDF file). This plan ensures that the Regional roads, water and wastewater infrastructure that is required to support growth in Halton is paid for by the development industry and not existing taxpayers.

Halton Regional staff identified requirements for over $2.4 billion in water, wastewater and road infrastructure that would need to be built over the next 12 years to support planned development. The Region’s Official Plan requires that Regional Council approve an acceptable financing plan before development can proceed. The financing plan determines who pays for and who assumes the risks of financing the required infrastructure –taxpayers or developers.

More than 2,100 residents sent me emails to express their overwhelming support of Halton’s Allocation Program, indicating they do not want to be burdened with the cost of growth.

I am pleased that the Allocation Program (staff report CS-49-09/PW-20-09/LPS80-09: Financial and Implementation Plan for the 2008/2009 Allocation Program (PDF file)), was unanimously approved by Council. It ensures that Halton taxpayers do not assume greater responsibility for financing development-related infrastructure.

These are just two examples of the constructive and unified approach your Regional Council has been taking to find solutions to the challenge of municipal infrastructure financing and other costs associated with accommodating growth. As we continue to work together, we can ensure that Halton remains a great place to live, work, raise a family and retire.

If you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, "The Carr Report."

Regards,

Gary Carr
Regional Chair