Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Still Waiting for the Shovels: Halton Update

When I wrote about the status of Halton's various infrastructure stimulus projects earlier this month, my list was somewhat incomplete and I wasn't entirely sure which projects were actually in the riding of Halton (as opposed to Halton Region, which is larger). Happily, the Conservatives have a handy map widget on their website showing exactly where everything is, enabling me to visit more sites and see what's going on.

I wanted a more thorough inventory in order to respond to a flurry of communications from Lisa Raitt in the form of nearly identical op-eds published in the Oakville Beaver and the Burlington Post. There was a third in the Milton Champion, but it was quite rightly classified as an advertisement and is therefore not available online.

The only difference between these missives is the lists of infrastructure projects she names. Of the five she mentions for Burlington, one is region-wide (the GO Transit improvements), one isn't actually in her riding, and two of the remaining three haven't broken ground yet. For Oakville the story is much the same. In fact, one of the projects she mentions there - the Sheridan College funding - is actually for a new campus completely outside the Region in Mississauga.

I recently contacted our Regional Councillor Colin Best to find out more about when some of these projects are expected to break ground, and clarification on the question of whether the money is "flowing" or not. He's looking into the first issue and will get back to me when he finds out. As for the second, his response actually explains the discrepancy between what the Conservatives and the Liberals are saying.

The deal is this: when a project is announced and the giant cheque is presented, it isn't really a cheque. Nor is it a guarantee of a cheque. What actually happens is that the municipalities get a small up-front cash amount, but after that are required to pay the contractors themselves and then submit their expense invoices each month for reimbursement.

In other words, money doesn't actually 'flow' until ground is broken.

So. Being a thorough sort of person and anxious to help Ms. Raitt sort out which projects are for Halton Riding and which are not, and which have broken ground and which have not, here's the complete list:

1) Milton Library and Arts Centre
Announced: June 12, 2009
Location: Southeast corner of Main and Thompson.
Status: Still not started - waiting for Milton Hydro to vacate

2) Milton Sports Centre Expansion
Announced: June 12, 2009
Location: Derry Road at Santa Maria Blvd.
Status: Still not started

3) Tremaine Road Widening
Announced: June 12, 2009
Location: From Derry to Main
Status: Still not started

4) Tonelli Arena Refurbishment
Announced: July 15, 2009
Location: Laurier at Farmstead
Status: Still not started

5) Nassagaweya Tennis Club
Announced: July 15, 2009
Location: Guelph Line, north of the 401
Status: Still not started

6) New Fire Station in NE Burlington
Location: Upper Middle Rd. and Walkers Line
Status: Not started - design process underway

7) New City Park
Location: Hwy.5 between Guelph Line and Walkers Line
Status: Not started - estimates coming in

8) Halton Conservation Authority Trails Upgrade
Status: Unknown

9) North Park Sports Fields
Announced: July 15
Location: Hwy.5 and Neyagawa Blvd.
Status: Not Started (the sports centre has been under construction for over a year, but the actual stimulus funding is only for the outdoor sports fields)

10) Orchard Community Park Sports Field
Announced: July 2
Location: near Upper Middle Rd. and Appleby Line
Status: Not started

11) Appleby Ice Centre
Announced: July 2
Location: Appleby Line south of Upper Middle Rd.
Status: Started mid-August!

That's one. Out of eleven. Which makes... 9.1%.

Sounds about right.


  1. I've been waiting to see if anyone in the trad media was going to follow up on Kennedy's work. I think you just left them in the dust.

  2. Thanks! I'm going to send all this to the local papers and see if anyone bites.

  3. "(they are) required to pay the contractors themselves and then <span style="font-weight: bold;">submit their expense invoices each month for reimbursement</span>."
    One wonders how promply such invoices are paid 60, 90, 120 days or more? Meanwhile the municipality (and probably to contractors to some extent) "carry" the costs!

    PS The comment box still takes forever (2 or 3 min) to come up at 28K! :-(