Red Deer gets $50 million from feds, province to keep people working

More paving projects are planned for next summer

The City of Red Deer expects to embark on more road projects next summer after getting more money from government for infrastructure projects that will keep people employed. (Advocate file photo).

The City of Red Deer expects to embark on more road projects next summer after getting more money from government for infrastructure projects that will keep people employed. (Advocate file photo).

The City of Red Deer is getting $50 million in federal and provincial stimulus dollars for new projects to keep people working during the pandemic.

The money is “certainly welcome,” said Dean Krejci, chief financial officer for the city.

He added there’s so much pressure on the capital budget, “this will help fund some projects that might not have gone ahead.”

The City of Red Deer is receiving $12 million from the province’s $500 million province stimulus program that’s being doling out to municipalities for infrastructure projects that will spur the economy.

And $38 million has been promised Red Deer from the federal Investing in Canada program for new infrastructure.

Krejci said city administrators are still deciding which projects to propose for the Ottawa program, which has flexible terms and could cover upgrades, retrofits, and fire and flood resiliency projects.

The City of Red Deer rejigged its transit system this fall so two proposed covered terminals at the south and north ends of the city might qualify for some of this funding. “We’re still thinking about that. It’s under consideration,” added Krejci.

The federal government will review submitted project applications this fall. Those that are approved must use the allotted money by the end of 2021.

The provincial stimulus funding has the same deadline, but less flexible terms. Krejci said the recommendation is the $12 million received be spent on road upgrade projects and crown paving.

“Normally we contract that work out,” he added, noting that the provincial grant must be spent to create private-sector employment. Paving projects that are approved this fall will have to be started next spring.

City council will discuss in the 2021 capital budget in November.

The $42 million expansion and upgrade of the G.H. Dawe Recreation Centre will be on the agenda. Krejci said a federal grant to cover 40 per cent of the costs was recently approved while a provincial grant for 33 per cent of costs was green lighted a few years ago.

But council must still decide whether it can afford the municipal portion of the project cost.

As for longer-term projects, such as the proposed aquatic centre, Krejci said the stimulus money can’t help fund them since the spending deadline is December 2021.

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