Ontario helps to strengthen the bones of rural communities
Provincial government to invest in infrastructure in hundreds of municipalities
By Kaitlynn Anderson
The Ontario government has taken another step to support rural communities by investing in infrastructure.
This year, more than 420 communities across the province will receive approximately $130 million in formula-based funding through the Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund (OCIF), according to Monday’s government release. This value will rise to approximately $530 million over the next three years.
By accessing this funding, small, rural and northern communities will be able to improve their roads, bridges and wastewater systems. As a result, this investment could “connect communities, create jobs and boost economic growth,” the release said.
In addition, Ontario will provide $100 million to 78 of these communities from the Top-Up Application Component of the OCIF.
One of the communities, Dorion Township, a small municipality located 70 km east of Thunder Bay, will receive $1.3 million to upgrade its Ouimet Canyon road bridge.
As the current bridge is load-restricted to five tonnes, a new structure will allow snow plows, emergency vehicles and large tour busses to access the area, Ed Chambers, the reeve of Dorion Township, told Farms.com yesterday.
The new bridge will also allow tourists to access the area’s multiple attractions, including Ouimet Canyon Provincial Park and Eagle Canyon Adventures. Currently, people can access these local attractions through an alternate route but they must travel a longer distance on dusty roads.
And Greenwich Wind Farm, a large company in Dorion Township, will be able to use the new bridge to bring in equipment on large trucks, Chambers said.
In turn, the 350 residents of the northern municipality could see benefits.
“Improved access will help (improve) road safety, … create a better quality of life and (produce) more economic opportunities for local families and businesses,” the release said.
Chambers expects the bridge construction to be completed this fall.
M.G.S. Farming photo