One of the positives from the recently passed SDG Counties budget is the balanced approach taken to fund long-term care home projects. After much discussion around the County Council table, councillors and administration came up with a compromise that sees Maxville Manor and Dundas Manor each receive their funding requests. The County’s plan invests $6.5 million into these vital facilities. Maxville will see its entire $2.5 million contribution in 2020, and Dundas will see its $4 million over the next five years, or less. County Council got it right with the funding for the infrastructure needs of the two manors. So why does the county get it so wrong when it comes to other infrastructure needs in SDG? Where is the balanced approach there?
The biggest infrastructure responsibility for the counties are roads, bridges, and culverts. More than $11 million will be spent on repairs and replacements in 2020. Outside of the Morrisburg roundabout and street-scape project, none of the other county infrastructure in South Dundas will be touched. None of it.
The Morrisburg roundabout and street-scape project is a $4.2 million project, but only 27 per cent of that funding comes from the County. The remainder will be funded by the provincial and federal government through the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program. It should be noted that that project is on hold until the federal government signs off. If that approval is not received soon, the roundabout will miss the construction season for 2020. That begs the question: what about the other County roads in need?
The section of County Roads 8 and 18 east of Williamsburg is one example. That is not on the SDG four-year roads plan for this year, or any year. There are other priorities on that list. One large County road liability was downloaded to South Dundas in recent years (Lakeshore Drive). Consequently it would make sense that other County roads in South Dundas should get some attention.
County councillors could take the same approach used to settle the debate over funding long-term care homes and apply that approach to solving infrastructure issues.
A balanced, long-term approach for planned infrastructure renewal, possibly even a reserve list for prioritized projects to be completed if there is a surplus, would go far in treating all six areas of the county equally.