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Liberal gas tax promise not just about crumbling roads

Dave Saad Past President of Canadian Parks and Recreation Association (l) joins MP Anthony Rota and Councillor Chris Mayne (r) Friday to hear more about the Liberal infrastructure plan.
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Dave Saad Past President of Canadian Parks and Recreation Association (l) joins MP Anthony Rota and Councillor Chris Mayne (r) Friday to hear more about the Liberal infrastructure plan.

Nipissing-Timiskaming MP Anthony Rota spoke with members of the media to detail how the riding will benefit directly from a Liberal plan to inject $70-billion nation-wide to improve infrastructure.

“The impact is going to be tremendous to Nipissing-Timiskaming and all the communities within the area,” he states.

“We’ve got a lot of infrastructure that is starting to decay, it’s been falling apart -- basically having been on municipal council a couple of years ago I understand what’s underground and the damage that is there and what has to be repaired -- what this does is allows the municipal government to plan on a regular basis and they’ll know what infrastructure they can repair and they can do it on an ongoing basis.”

Rota says for too long municipal leaders have been begging for crumbs and it is time for communities to receive stable long term infrastructure funding. He says the Liberals plan to use 25 billion from the gas tax to pay for that plan.

“The municipalities don’t always have the knowledge of how much money they are going to have and how much is going to be trickled down, basically (they’re) the poor cousin who’s waiting for the other two to drop something down to them.”

“What this does is allows them to have funds that they can count on and they could build on.”

Rota says the announcement doesn’t just cover crumbling infrastructure underground but that it will also offer funds for sports and quality of life issues as well.

“Really these are the building blocks that build our country, without strong communities it is hard to build a strong Canada.”

“Infrastructure will be divided but what we are looking at is municipalities will still have to look at what they want and what they need, recreation is distinctly put in there, what happens all too often is you’ll get something and recreation is easy to push off this will be included as part of the package and recreation will definitely be a strong part of this package.”

Rota says the plan comes down to looking at quality of life issues for Canadians and that far too many sporting complexes are not meeting the grade.

“We have some aging structures right across the country whether it’s skating rinks, whether it’s baseball diamonds, whether it’s curling rinks I could go on forever, but what happens is they are showing their age they need some rehabilitation and we need new ones as well, so what we are doing is we’re allowing quality of life to be looked at and to be funded so that Canadians can continue what we have now not having to run out of money and say sorry we don’t have it anymore we have to continue to guarantee that quality of life so that all Canadians can enjoy what we had in the past.”

Dave Saad who sits on the Board of Directors for Sports Alliance of Ontario and is the Past President of Canadian Parks and Recreation Association says the announcement has teeth and will do great things for the health of the nation.

“What it means to this community is that we are not putting sport and recreation up against roads, sewer and water,” he tells reporters.

“The fact that we have a dedicated amount of money that is being allocated toward specific sport and recreation is something that we have never had before at the federal level. I think it opens the opportunity to partnerships from the provincial level as well as the municipalities.”

“When we look at our community, the local council has a sports complex listed as something that they want to accomplish in this term and realistically to expect the municipal council to that alone isn’t going to happen, with a fund like this it opens up the opportunity of that becoming more of a reality.”

North Bay City Councillor Chris Mayne says to have a commitment come forward from the federal government that has sustainable funding to impact any community’s potential budget with an accent on green projects is good news.

“I think it is something anyone on council would like to see come forward as a proposal, and not just that it stay at a flat line rate but that it grow with the economy I think that is a significant portion of it.”

“My understanding is some of the funds will be prioritised for green fund applications. It would probably be too late for the current recycling centre proposals but recycling; expanding projects up at the Merrick Landfill and how we treat waste."

"I think there’s some great potential for how the money could be used but first and foremost is just to see it as a continuous commitment from the federal government to support municipal budgets and I think that’s a wonderful proposal.”


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