Provincial grants mean PMD arena expansion will go ahead

The PMD arena expansion should be going ahead as planned, after it was announced last week Map­leton Township will receive a $474,180 grant from the province.

That is very good News for the township, especially considering that staff and councillors hinted last week the project hinged on the provincial grant.

Finance Director Mike Givens said if the township was not awarded the grant, the arena expansion would not be possible without an “astronomical increase” in the 2008 budget, which councillors would not approve.

Mayor John Green agreed in an interview last week and said the grant means the project will likely go ahead this year.

“I would imagine we’re in a go position,” Green said.

He noted the fundraising committee, consisting of arena stakeholder groups, will raise about one quarter of the total cost of $1.04-million, with the township picking up the rest.

Public Works Director Larry Lynch told council he was scheduled to meet with Tacoma engineers this week to discuss the arena expansion, which will include five new dressing rooms and a storage area.

Mapleton is among several municipalities in the county that will receive funding under the $450-million Municipal Infrastructure Investment Ini­tiative (MIII).

The local announcement was made last week by Perth-Wellington MPP John Wilkin­son.

“I am delighted that every community in Perth-Well­ing­ton is receiving this much needed support to assist with their rural infrastructure needs,” said Wilkinson.

“These initiatives will provide a major boost to our local economy now and into the future.”

Mapleton Township will also benefit from the $1-million MIII grant received by Wellington County, which will be used for the reconstruction of the Princess Elizabeth Bridge on County Road 12, in former Peel township.

In total, about $4-million in MIII grants was received in the county. Other grants include:

– $400,000 for Minto for replacement of cast iron watermains in Clifford;

– $535,000 for Wellington North for watermain replacement and distribution system looping in Arthur;

– $580,000 for Centre Wellington, for the reconstruction of County Road 21/ and Metcalfe Street from Clyde Street to County Road 7; and

– $1.08-million for Guelph-Eramosa for the reconstruction of the Fifth Line.

More Mapleton money

Also announced last week was a $1.1-million grant for Mapleton roads and bridges, under the province’s $400-million Capital Roads and Capital Bridges Capital Initiative.

Green said the township is currently trying to update its five-year roads plan, and that will help council decide where exactly to spend the money. He added that the funding may have some effect on the 2008 budget, but the intent of the grants is not to help lower budgets.

“If municipalities are using it to reduce their levy, they’re not using it correctly,” he said. However,  the mayor explained the provincial grant could help the township accomplish more in the future, with normal budgetary increases.

Capital Initiative funding was granted to all Ontario municipalities based on a formula that incorporates the kilometre lanes, number of bridges, and population of each municipality.

Green said Mapleton’s grant was relatively high because the township has one bridge for every 220 people, a remarkably high number.

By comparison, Centre Wellington Township – which has 104 bridges to look after, one of the most for any municipality in the province – has only one bridge for every 260 people, Green said.

In total, the county and its lower tiers received almost $6.3-million in Capital Ini­tiative grants, including:

– $2,399,171 for Wellington County;

– $1,161,935 for Mapleton;

– $878,595 for Centre Wellington;

– $741,045 for Minto;

– $733,945 for Wellington North;

– $622,223 for Puslinch;

– $541,530 for Guelph-Eramosa; and

– $369,094 for Erin.

Green, also the warden for Wellington County, said the county portion will “give us a chance to update a lot of things that are needed.”