New funding for town projects, with strings attached

Joe McWilliams
Lakeside Leader

Big news out of the Town of Slave Lake is $790,000 in new provincial grant money for infrastructure projects. It comes with quite a few strings attached, but judging by what the mayor had to say at council’s Aug. 4 meeting, that won’t be any obstacle.

For starters, the government wants to know by Oct. 1 what the town plans to spend it on. Secondly, the money must be spent by the end of next year. This puts the pressure on; decisions will have to be made quickly. Mayor Tyler Warman asked CAO David Kim when that will happen.

“We’re meeting actually tomorrow,” said Kim.

Other conditions with the MSP grant (Municipal Stimulus Program) include the requirement to submit a ‘Red Tape Reduction report.’ Another is that no tax increase can come about as a result of whatever is built via the grant money. Another is that only projects that would not have otherwise gone forward qualify.

Mayor Tyler Warman, commenting on the item, said having a 10-year capital plan in place should help the town “pick off some low-hanging fruit” in choosing what to spend the money on. “We have a lot of flexibility,” Warman continued.

Projects that are eligible include roads, bridges, water and wastewater facilities, police, fire and emergency services facilities and disaster mitigation, airports, public health and welfare, and public recreation and other community facilities.

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