Township frustrated, but will keep applying for grant cash

Councillors in this township are getting a little frustrated that some of their larger projects have been ignored to date when it comes to some of the federal grant programs for infrastructure.

Centre Wellington was recently on the receiving end of a $1.33-million grant to help rebuild Church Street, in Elora.

Mayor Joanne Ross-Zuj was pleased to obtain some funding, but she is concerned because that project was ranked third on the township’s priority list. She and other councillors would like to know why the top two were rejected.

Nonetheless, Ross-Zuj said the best option is to remain positive, and she believes more announcements will be coming eventually.

Council’s first priority was a grant of $5-million for the Forfar Street water tower in Fergus. The second priority was Sideroad 19 in old Nichol township, which runs from Highway 6 to Beatty Line.

As well, council is still waiting to hear back from the Building Canada grant program about its application for a $15-million sewage treatment plant upgrade in Elora.

As for the Church Street grant, while she is grateful, Ross-Zuj said, “We won’t be shy about going back for more. I understand there is still opportunity.”

She said council made water protection its top priority in infrastructure, so she is unsure why the water tower and Sideroad 19 were bypassed. The water tower is much needed, and she noted Sideroad 19 has numerous shallow wells. Work on that road would include water and sewage services.

She said, “Michael Chong is pushing” at the federal level. MPP Ted Arnott noted several municipalities have complained because they cannot find out why their projects were rejected or how they could improve applications.

8th Line bridge work

But there is some good News for residents of old Pilkington township.

Ross-Zuj said tenders have been called for the replacement of the 8th Line bridge in that community. The bridge has been closed since 2001, even though the council of that day promised residents firmly that it would be rebuilt.

There were a number of delays. A few years ago, council decided the cost of $4-million was just too steep.

Ross-Zuj said the last year has been spent conferring with Six Nations over its concerns for the area, but now the work is ready to start when a contractor is named.

That bridge in the past has been a major link for Mapleton and Minto into Guelph, and the old Pilkington council tried strongly for many years to have the county take over the road because it had high traffic counts.

Centre Wellington also hopes to give that road to the county but is awaiting the upper tier’s roads rationalization study.