Notes for an address by
The Honourable Lynne Yelich
Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification
Corresponding Documents: News Release
Check against delivery
Bonjour. Good afternoon.
It is my pleasure to be here today in my hometown of Kenaston, Saskatchewan.
Nearly three years ago I was here to announce funding to revitalize this very facility – our community swimming pool.
Facilities like this are the foundation of our communities – bringing families and residents together. And I have seen it firsthand. I’ve brought my own family here over the years and I look forward to continuing this tradition with my grandchildren.
But the benefits of this facility extend beyond the borders of Kenaston. Families from our neighboring communities like Hawarden, Bladworth and Hanley also use the pool and create the healthy and fun environment we all want.
Ladies and gentlemen, our Government is committed to investing in public infrastructure. As part of Economic Action Plan 2012, we announced a new Community Infrastructure Improvement Fund, with national funding of $150 million over two years, to support repairs and improvements to existing community facilities.
This fund is being delivered by regional development agencies across the country. And I’m proud to announce the fund is now open for business in Western Canada.
Starting immediately, eligible municipal, regional and First Nations governments and community organizations are invited to submit project proposals.
Community and recreational facilities – such as community centres, libraries, parks, museums, and sports fields – are the beating hearts of Canadian communities from coast to coast … providing places where families, friends and neighbours can gather together.
I urge service clubs, community organizations and municipal governments to work together to upgrade and repair your shared facilities. These partnerships will maximize the benefits of modern infrastructure for current residents as well as future generations.
But this new Fund is more than an investment in infrastructure—it’s also an investment in Western Canada’s greatest resource: its people.
The Fund will provide an important economic boost in the West by stimulating construction activity and creating local jobs for projects that can be completed by March 31, 2014.
The Harper Government will work to get funds to communities as quickly as possible.
The Fund builds on the momentum of recent infrastructure investments across the country, as they are a key part of our Government’s plan to create jobs, growth and long-term prosperity.
As you know, in partnership with various levels of government and numerous community organizations, the Harper Government successfully completed the Recreational Infrastructure Canada program, or RInC as it was known. In the West, this led to the completion of 714 projects.
We can see the success of RInC as we look around here today. Upgrades to this pool were funded through this program. Our investment meant jobs for Kenaston and new economic opportunities, but our community has the long-term benefit of a better climate-controlled environment and improved chlorine treatment system for swimmers.
Other RInC projects in Saskatchewan included improvements to our arena and the conversion of Viscount’s old arena into a popular archery centre.
Our proud history of investing in infrastructure goes even further. The seven-year, $33-billion Building Canada Plan, introduced in Budget 2007, was Canada's first-ever long-term infrastructure plan. The Building Canada Plan will continue to deliver results for communities until 2014 and beyond.
Infrastructure Canada is engaging provinces, territories, municipalities and other stakeholders to shape the development of a new long-term infrastructure plan. The new plan will build on past accomplishments and provide new opportunities for all orders of government to work together to improve public infrastructure in Canada.
Our Government also made the Gas Tax Fund permanent. This important annual investment of $2 billion in municipal infrastructure through the Fund ensures a predictable and stable source of funding for local infrastructure priorities.
In meeting our infrastructure needs, it is important that we continue to work together to come up with innovative solutions on how we can preserve and build our infrastructure while spending taxpayer dollars responsibly. The engagement of all our partners is crucial to our collective success.
I encourage you to think about local projects that might benefit from improvements through the support of the Community Infrastructure Improvement Fund.
We look forward to working with you once again to bring about positive change in our communities.
Together, we are building a stronger West for a stronger Canada.
Thank you. Merci.