Federal funding announced, more on the way

OTTAWA: The federal government made three funding announcements last week, and more are scheduled in coming days and weeks.

“There’s a lot of announcements happening, stuff that we’ve been working on a year-plus, since I’ve been elected, and you’ll see some more in the coming week or two that’ll be coming your way; pretty profound, transformational funding opportunities,” Cape Breton-Canso MP Mike Kelloway told The Reporter.

On June 8, Kelloway, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Brendan McGuire, Inverness Warden Laurie Cranton, and We’koqma’q First Nation Chief Annie Bernard-Daisley announced funding for the replacement of the Whycocomagh wastewater treatment plant.

“This goes to the heart of improving the quality of water and sewer disposal systems for Whycocomagh residents, and that’s really, really key,” the MP said. “To get that across the finish line was very important for me. I heard loud and clear that this was an important and necessary investment in a piece of infrastructure that was needed now. I was glad to put my weight and work with my partners, to make it happen.”

The Government of Canada said it is investing $2,350,618 in the project through the Green Infrastructure Stream of the Investing in Canada infrastructure plan. The Government of Nova Scotia is contributing $1,958,652, with the Municipality of the County of Inverness providing $1,567,275.

“Due to the age and condition of the current facility, the system is a priority for replacement,” McGuire noted.

According to a press release from the province, the current Whycocomagh wastewater treatment plant is operating at near capacity, noting the current facility was constructed in 1977 and received upgrades in 1992.

“The municipality appreciates the continued support from We’koqma’q First Nation, project partners, stakeholders and regulatory bodies to advance an important green infrastructure initiative that meets the needs of our residents,” the warden stated.

The province said design work is expected to be completed by January 2022, and the project is forecast to be completed by March 31, 2024.

“We were very pleased to partner with the Municipality of the County of Inverness and Whycocomagh on this modern and progressive Wastewater Treatment Plant project, to increase its capacity to treat and manage wastewater,” Bernard-Daisley noted.

“The vision of We’koqma’q is to improve the overall quality of life and well-being of all community members. We know that this aligns with our vision and will be a transformative change for the community of We’koqma’q and we’re very glad to be a partner on this project.”

Then on June 9, the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) announced it is helping Tor Bay Fisheries Limited build a live lobster holding facility with a repayable contribution of $550,000.

“This is an investment, not only in our company, but also in our community,” said Thomas Grover, President of Tor Bay Fisheries Limited. “It will help us greatly in our endeavour to provide local, sustainable seafood to our customers year-round. Tor Bay Fisheries has always relied on the hard work of our local community; this investment will ensure that the community can continue to rely on Tor Bay Fisheries as we move forward.”

The federal government said Tor Bay currently holds live lobsters in an open water facility that experiences an increase in water temperatures during summer months, noting new live lobster tanks will be temperature controlled, have advanced filtration systems, and will be energy efficient.

According to the federal government, Tor Bay currently has five full-time employees and this project will extend the length of employment for up to 12 seasonal workers.

Tor Bay Fisheries Limited’s lobster holding facility will accommodate 150,000 pounds of live lobster, the federal government said, noting the ability to hold product will allow the company to take advantage of market prices after the fishing season, creating additional revenues.

“I’m really pleased to work with them,” Kelloway said of the company. “Tor Bay, like many others, is always trying to find ways to be a better company. Our investment is a wise investment in a great company in a great part of the riding.”

That same day, the federal government announced an investment of $100,000 in two new projects in Nova Scotia through the Municipal Asset Management Program (MAMP), delivered by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), on behalf of the federal government.

The federal government said the program helps municipalities strengthen local infrastructure planning and decision-making by increasing local asset management capacity through investments in activities such as asset management training, technology, software enhancements, and information sharing.

The Municipality of the District of Guysborough will collect data to document its capital assets and their current state, current and future service needs, and determine which assets can or should be retired, the federal government said, noting the municipality will also develop an asset management plan that will help support and encourage long-term municipal capital planning and provide effective stewardship of capital assets.

MAMP offers funding, training, and resources to help municipalities strengthen their asset management practices enabling them to make informed infrastructure investment decisions, the federal government noted.

The Cape Breton-Canso MP said such funding prepares local communities for growth.

“I like the investment that we’re making here for municipalities and working with (the Federation of Canadian Municipalities) to collect data, to document assets and their current state; whether they need improvement. This is exceptionally important for long-term sustainability and preparing to make decisions that impact growth, or whatever the case may be,” Kelloway said. “I think it’s preparing for growth, when I look at Guysborough and the opportunities that are there, the opportunities that may emerge. It’s going to require planning.”