| Apr 28, 2005


Feature article,April 28, 2005

Feature articleApril 28, 2005

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MacDonald loses his cool over COMRIF rejection

by Jeff Green

Mayor Bill MacDonald was flabbergasted this week when he found out that Central Frontenac had been rejected in its application for funding from the Canada Ontario Municipal Rural Infrastructure Fund (COMRIF).

As a County Warden, Bill MacDonald was also not particularly pleased when he found out that none of the four Frontenac County Townships would be receiving any COMRIF funding.

I talked to David Caplan, [the Ontario Minister for Public Infrastructure Renewal] in Toronto two months ago and he told me we were the type of township that would be looked at favourably by this program, because we have not received funding from any other program and we have projects that need to be done that we cant afford, Bill MacDonald said, during a break from a Council meeting in Sharbot Lake on Tuesday.

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MacDonald also said he had been on the phone with MPP Leona Dombrowsky early that morning, and she encouraged him to have Central Frontenac re-apply to the second intake for COMRIF funding that will take place later this Spring.

Central Frontenac submitted an application on January 10 for funding to complete repairs on Road 38, a road that was downloaded from the Province several years ago. This is the third disappointment for MacDonald, and Central Frontenac, in regards to Provincial funding for upgrading Road 38.

When the road was downloaded, the township was promised an amount of money to upgrade it, much as the portion of Road 38 that is located in South Frontenac was upgraded before it was downloaded to the township of South Frontenac. But the funding was not sufficient to repair the entire road, and the township could only do some of the repairs. These were done a few summers ago.

At the time, the township was encouraged to apply for funding from the Ontario Small Town Renewal Program (OSTAR) and that application was turned down. Years later the road has only deteriorated and the township is no more in a financial position to do the upgrade now than it was when the road was downloaded in 1998.

MacDonald was also upset over some of the jurisdictions which did receive money, including the riding of Leeds Grenville, which MacDonald pointed out had received over $185 million in provincial grants when the Conservatives were in power, and Leeds Grenville MPP Bill Runciman was senior cabinet minister. As well, he mentioned that the town of Gananoque will be funded through COMRIF, and they already get all sorts of money from their casino.

North Frontenac had applied to COMRIF to rebuild and upgrade the Mississippi Bridge on road 509 at Snow Road to a tow lane bridge, and South Frontenac had hoped to use some of the COMRIF money to enter into a resurfacing program on a large number of roads.

When COMRIF was first announced, the townships considered a variety of projects, including building Salt containment units in Central Frontenac, but they were informed that roads and bridges were the priority for the first round of funding.

The focus for the second round is not yet known. With round one gone, $250 million of the roughly $600 million envisioned for Federal and Provincial grants under COMRIF have been allocated.

Addington Highlands rejected by COMRIF as well.

Addington Highlands was not on the list of municipalities that will be receiving funding under the COMRIF program. It had applied for a repair project on Skootamatta road, which had been identified as the road within the township that is most in need of repairs in a recent roads study. The County of Lennox and Addington will be receiving up to $1,252,000 to replace the Black Creek, Wilton Creek, and Puzzle Lake Bridges. Stone Mills Township will receive up to $694,000 to replace the Adair and Bradshaw bridges.

To the East, Lanark Highlands and Tay Valley Township were both shut out of COMRIF funding, but the County of Lanark will receive up to $286,000 to replace the bridge over the Clyde River.

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