Program tweaked so Manitoba can get $117M
Ottawa aims to spur quick builds
OTTAWA — The federal government is rejigging its massive infrastructure
plan to allow provinces to divert 10 per cent of their federal funding into
shovel-ready projects aimed at helping people keep physically distant.
*That could mean Manitoba will get up to $117 million, which has been
gummed up in red tape, to build bike lanes and hospital extensions and
“Once we get on the other side of COVID… infrastructure’s going to be a way
to rebuild our cities, our rural areas and the North,” said Dan Vandal,
Manitoba’s federal cabinet minister.
The Manitoba government said it will study the proposal and see if it can
help clear obstacles to getting infrastructure funds out the door.
The Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP) has been plagued with
problems since Manitoba signed onto its quota in 2018.
The decade-long plan is aimed at repairing Canada’s crumbling roads and
outdated buildings, such as recreation centres. *ICIP splits projects into
four areas, such as green, rural and public transit *— and largely requires
provinces to match the cost.
Numerous provinces have said the criteria make it hard to get projects
through the federal approval process.
The Liberals have partially acknowledged that problem, while insisting
provinces aren’t putting up enough cash to qualify.
Winnipeg’s city council has shelved projects it nominated for the plan,
after the belt-tightening provincial Progressive Conservatives put up less
funding than the city wanted.
On Wednesday, the federal Liberals announced provinces can divert 10 per
cent of their federal ICIP cash into shovel-ready projects, targeted at
making life easier during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Infrastructure Minister Catherine McKenna told reporters even cell phone
and broadband projects could qualify for funding.
“We’re using existing money to make sure that we’re getting better
outcomes,” she said. “This is for projects that can be built quickly.”
The reappropriated funding is intended for projects for which construction
would start by fall 2021 and be completed by the end of that year. The
federal government could also form more direct partnerships with cities,
which municipalities have sought for years.
*Instead of the usual formula of Ottawa and the province each covering 40
per cent of costs and leaving the city to pay the remaining 20 per
cent, these COVID-19 projects could have Ottawa pay four-fifths of the cost
without provinces contributing a dime.*
*However, those projects would still require the provincial government to
sign off on them.*
Manitoba Central Services Minister Reg Helwer seemed open to green-lighting
such projects, saying the PCs want job-stimulating projects in cities and
First Nations, while allowing the province to afford essential services.
“We’re going to make it work best for Manitoba and we are in very active
negotiations with the federal government,” Helwer said in an interview. He
did not provide examples of specific projects the PCs would make a priority.
Vandal said the money can be used for anything from cycling routes in
Winnipeg to medical research facilities. As an example, he cited the St.
Boniface Hospital Foundation, which is in his riding.
“Many of our hospitals need some investment, so I’m hoping we can use some
of these funds to do some important work in our hospitals, as well as our
schools,” Vandal said.
Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman was not aware of the arrangement before its
announcement; his office said it would seek clarity.
Helwer said he’d still prefer the Liberals do away with the criteria for
projects, but hoped Wednesday’s new program will clear the logjam by making
more projects eligible for funding.
“Anything would help,” he said. “All provinces are struggling with finding
a way to fit their projects into the (federal) streams.”
---------- Forwarded message ---------
From: Brian Pincott <ed(a)canadabikes.org>
Date: Wed, Aug 5, 2020 at 1:38 PM
This morning the federal government made a significant announcement for
They have created a $3.3 billion “Resiliency” stream within the Investing
in Canada Infrastructure Program. This has a significant AT component to
it. Please see the attached memo for full details on what they have
We have a great chance to make a difference for cycling coast to coast to
coast with this announcement.
I’m looking forward to a busy 18 months!!
Vélo Canada Bikes
Imagining a new Elmwood streetscape
Motorists driving on Henderson Highway between Johnson Avenue and Hespeler
Avenue may have noticed some temporary changes July 25 — some of which
could become permanent.
The new streetscape was part of Reimagine Elmwood, a one-day trial which
saw a temporary crosswalk, bicycle lanes and parking lanes installed on
Henderson between noon and 8 p.m. It was an experiment to see how
organizers could make Elmwood a more livable community.
Michel Durand-Wood, co-chair of the Glenelm Neighbourhood Association,
helped organize Reimagine Elmwood along with representatives of seven other
community groups. He said the afternoon’s test-drive evolved from the
results of a survey of more than 1,500 respondents.
“One of the major themes that came back was the difficulty in getting
around the neighbourhood, especially for families, youth and seniors,”
One significant barrier is the six lanes of traffic on Henderson Highway,
Durand-Wood said. Vehicle traffic and noise makes it difficult to converse
on the sidewalks. If the speed limit is lowered, a bicycle lane added (as
many cyclists now use the sidewalk), and some tables and chairs are placed
on the sidewalks, all of a sudden you have a more hospitable environment.
Durand-Wood said the intersection of Henderson and Poplar is the
neighbourhood’s midway point, so the group decided to try a crosswalk. A
guard was stationed there to help pedestrians.
The final element was the elimination of one traffic lane in favour of
on-street parking which, while allowed, can be discouraged by higher
vehicle speeds. Turnouts were placed at street corners to encourage parking.
“Its good for a neighbourhood feel and good for the businesses,”
Durand-Wood said. “We’re working as a neighbourhood and community to get
everybody on board to work toward something that works for everybody.
“Luckily Coun. (Jason) Schreyer was very helpful and supportive throughout
Reimagine Elmwood was a nice starting point, but the owner of a local
business believes the results would have been different if the test was
held on a weekday.
“It’s good,” said Mike Bergmann, owner of Lower Level Sports Cards
and Collectibles at 189 Henderson Hwy. “It’s one thing to do it on a
Saturday, the traffic is flowing nicely, but when the crosswalk is being
used by the Subway it backs traffic up and I wonder how it will Monday to
Bergmann also said any changes should only be made after extensive
consultation with area business owners, which he doesn’t always see.
“People don’t come and visit the business and ask my opinion. Maybe they do
at other businesses but that has to happen for these changes to happen as
well,” Bergmann said.
Bergmann said there has been street parking on Henderson for years, so he
would like to see existing parking used lots to their full capacity,
including the one at Elmwood Mennonite Brethren Church lot and even his
own, which is shared with another building but cut in half by a fence.
“Parking lots are essential and if you want people to come to Elmwood there
has to be free parking in the parking lots, at least to begin with and then
see what happens,” Bergmann said.
Durand-Wood said organizers will review surveys and discuss the event. Next
steps could be longer trials and added locations.