Sault Ste. Marie’s advisers tapped into tonight’s virtual city council meeting in hopes of considering whether to scale back the $ 27.9 million replacement for the WJ McMeeken center or fund it with long-term debt. term.
But Sault MPP Ross Romano and Laurie Scott, provincial infrastructure minister, made a surprise – and much appreciated – announcement: the province has agreed to contribute $ 18 million to the new two-court arena.
Last year, the Ontario government rejected a request for the city’s funding for the project, refusing to submit it to the federal government for review as part of the Investing in Canada (ICIP) infrastructure project, which received many more requests than could be funded.
But the city council voted in January to proceed without money to higher levels of government.
In a surprise appearance at tonight’s board meeting, Romano and Scott announced that the new funding will underpin priority local infrastructure from the new $ 200 million Provincial Infrastructure Fund for Strategic Priorities (SPIF). dollars.
The SPIF was created to finance the infrastructure of larger strategic projects and sports facilities.
The Sault arena project is one of eight projects approved in the province.
The SPIF projects were selected on the basis of the original ICIP evaluation criteria, then evaluated according to their expected impact on local economic recovery.
The following criteria were used to evaluate the projects:
- community support
- operational and financial capacity
- similar services available nearby
- demonstrated community need
- value for money
- asset management planning
- regional distribution of projects
Romano says Ontario will continue to seek more federal funding for infrastructure projects that municipalities need.
Recipient municipalities will be responsible for funding the remaining cost-sharing as indicated in their original application, as well as any cost overruns.
Additional coverage of this breaking story will be posted later by SooToday.