ST. MARY’S — The Municipality of the District of St. Mary’s will receive more than $300,000 to support sustainable infrastructure projects, council heard at its committee of the whole meeting on April 19.
Reading from a letter from John Lohr, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Warden Greg Wier said the province was “very pleased to announce that it has approved a grant of $312,383 through the Sustainable Services Growth Fund,” noting that the municipality has until March 31, 2025, to spend the money.
“This is great news,” Wier said. “This is money we didn’t apply for and weren’t expecting. These kind of letters are awesome.”
The funding, which took some councillors by surprise, was not entirely unexpected. The province created the multi-million-dollar fund — which provides one-time grants to municipalities for capital spending on accessibility, active transportation and housing — earlier this year. Other recently announced recipients include the Cape Breton Regional Municipality, which will receive $3 million.
“Just looking at the scope of the projects [than can be covered]. I think it’s great that accessibility is something that they have identified,” said Deputy Warden James Fuller. “I know that there are a couple of places where we could put this [money] towards, [better] handicap accessibility; a couple — three or four — improvements at the Recplex would go a long way; things we’ve wanted to do, along with everything else.
Chief Administrative Officer Marissa Jordan said the new funds will certainly come in handy. The municipality’s gas tax and capital budgets forecast approximately $470,000 in spending in the 2024 fiscal year on major projects like road repairs, sewer upgrades and water system assessments.
“We already know things, just from our budget work and strategic planning, that this [new funding] could be earmarked for,” she said, “but it’s not something that needs to be figured out right away.”