Centre Wellington Mayor Joanne Ross-Zuj was pleased to talk about provincial grants at a committee of the whole meeting on Monday.
She said that the Municipal Infrastructure Investment Initiative (known as the MIII grant) will provide the township with $580,000 this year.
She said that money will be used to do watermains on Water, Clyde, and High Streets when Wellington County does major work on the Metcalfe Street bridge and that street in Elora.
She was also pleased to talk about another grant from the province for $878,000 that will be used to upgrade roads and bridges. She said that grant is particularly pleasing.
“It’s very welcome to receive money that we decide where it’s going to go,” Ross-Zuj said.
In other words, the province is providing the cash, with no strings attached. It can be used for whatever council chooses.
She explained that there is no set program for that grant, and that the province is simply handing out extra cash to the municipalities at its year end (March 31).
The township has been lobbying the provincial government hard for infrastructure cash, as have all of Ontario’s municipalities. Centre Wellington has claimed it is particularly in need because it has 104 bridges to go along with over 600km of roads.
Ross-Zuj added that the province is now heading into a new fiscal year, and she and council have no intention of letting up when it comes to lobbying for infrastructure cash.
The surprise of the meeting came when township Director Public Works Ken Elder announced that even more money is on the way.
Elder said he had received notice that another $532,000 is coming to Centre Wellington from the Ministry of Transportation for connecting link work in Fergus.
“That’s $2-million this week,” he said with a smile.
Elder said the township will use that money to build a left turn lane off Highway 6 at the south end of the town near McQueen Boulevard.
He added the funding is a 90:10 split with the provincial government, with the province paying 90%.
Councillor Walt Visser joked that Ross-Zuj had “strangled the minister” to get the extra cash.
Elder did warn that while he had been informed of the money, it still has to be officially confirmed.