Supplied photo.

MPP Monte McNaughton announces infrastructure planning

Fifty-eight rural Ontario municipalities will receive expert infrastructure planning help, Monte McNaughton, Minister of Infrastructure and MPP for Lambton-Kent-Middlesex, announced Friday.

“This assistance will help many rural and northern communities map out the future,” said McNaughton, who delivered the news in Newbury, the village where he was born and raised. Newbury is among the 58 communities receiving help.

“We know that infrastructure spending benefits families and businesses,” McNaughton said. “We have to ensure funds are spent in the right place, at the right time and on the right project.”

In parts of Ontario, infrastructure is deteriorating a rate faster than it can be repaired or replaced. Municipalities are now required to develop asset management plans, which will help guide decisions on infrastructure spending.

At the same time, the government is working to reduce a projected $14.5-billion deficit.

Today’s announcement means Newbury and 57 other small communities across the province will benefit from expert, in-person assistance in developing an asset management plan. The program is being delivered by the Municipal Finance Officers’ Association of Ontario in partnership with the Province.

“For a small municipality like ours, having expert advice will make a big difference. It will help us to identify specific infrastructure needs and plan for our community’s future,” said Newbury Reeve Diane Brewer.

The provincial government recognizes that developing and improving asset management plans is challenging work, especially for small municipalities with limited staff and resources. This work is critical to sustaining necessary services, such as roads, bridges and clean drinking water.