Towns in the Western Avalon will receive provincial money to help with municipal infrastructure projects over the next two years.
Municipal Affairs Minister Kevin O’Brien was joined by area MHA Felix Collins last week in Placentia to make the announcement of a provincial investment of over $3.7-million through the 2012-14 Multi-Year Capital Works Program and the 2012 Municipal Capital Works Program.
“This investment will provide for important upgrades to municipal infrastructure such as water, roads and firefighting equipment,” said Mr. O’Brien.
The breakdown of money goes like this. Placentia will get $1.5-million to complete the water hook up from Freshwater to Jerseyside, pave some streets and to clean up the Clarke’s Pond oil spill that happened earlier this year. In Long Harbour, money will be spent on replacing a water line, and in Whitbourne, the money will be used to upgrade the Main Street water line. St. Bride’s will begin Phase 1 for water system improvements and St. Mary’s will replace a sanitary sewer outfall.
The money is provided on a cost share basis, with Placentia paying for 20 per cent of the work to be done while the other communities will pay 10 per cent.
As well, money was provided by the Fire and Emergency Services – Newfoundland and Labrador (FES-NL) for the town of Fox Harbour’s fire department to purchase over $23,000 in firefighting equipment including seven bunker suits, gloves and boots, and two self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA), and for the St. Bride’s fire department, two new SCBA valued at more than $10,000, according to a government press release.
“Government has invested a lot in FES,” said Mr. O’Brien. “There is a lot of need and we are getting to it. Money is tight, but this funding is a testament to the need that’s out there.”
Clarence Dohey is the fire chief in St. Bride’s and is happy to get what they got.
“We’ve been lobbying to get these SCBA breathing apparatus for over two years, so we are pleased about this announcement,” said Dohey.
Placentia-St. Mary’s MHA Felix Collins said he’s worked hard on getting funding for his district, and Mr. O’Brien agreed, noting Collins was always pushing for the communities and people in his district.
“It’s been challenging, but satisfactory in the end,” said Mr. Collins. “Mr. O’Brien has helped us bridge those grey areas. He found ways to do things, if not through one program, then through another. His door was always open and I want to express my appreciation for that.”
A few mayors felt the need to thank government for this investment, including St. Bride’s Mayor Eugene Manning, who said they’d been fighting for money to improve their water system for years.
Fox Harbour Mayor Jack Maher expressed his appreciation for the fire fighting equipment for his town.
“We started out with nothing, and with generous neighbours like Long Harbour and now the provincial government funding, we will get a great boost. Thank-you for this,” said Mayer Maher.
Long Harbour Mayor Gary Keating also took the podium to express appreciation.
“We’ve tried hard to improve our infrastructure, and now it is coming. We hope there will be continued improvements in our town,” stated Mayor Keating.
“This investment reflects government’s ongoing commitment to funding the infrastructure needs of the area,” said MHA Felix Collins. “In the past three years over $6-million has been allocated to municipal infrastructure projects in this area. On behalf of the residents of these municipalities, I want to extend my appreciation to the government for its support.”