City, province wants to keep 'Building Canada'
Even though the Building Canada infrastructure funding program ends in two years, the federal government still intends to keep 'building Canada'.
The program was introduced in 2007 and provided $33 million for building and construction projects across the country, but that money comes to an end in 2014. To find out what stakeholders want it replaced with, the federal minister has traveled the country and held roundtable discussions.
In Regina on Monday, minister Steven John Fletcher met with the city, province and groups like the Saskatchewan Heavy Construction Association. The over-arching theme was that the program needs to last longer than seven years.
"Ten years maybe the goldilocks time line," Fletcher said. He has also heard that the new program needs to be easier to apply for. One of the criticisms of the Building Canada program was the amount of red tape involved when applying for the money.
Provincial infrastructure minster Don McMorris is looking for more flexibility from the replacement program.
"To button hole just where that funding had to be sometimes doesn't meet the need of that local community, or a province for that matter."
It is a sentiment echoed by Regina city councillor Mike O'Donnell.
"We need flexibility, we need sustainability, we need predictability and we need it long term", he said.
Having that money long in the future is what the Saskatchewan Heavy Construction Association wants.
"It gives the industry a lot better perspective of what they need to invest in in terms of fleet and labour," explained the group's Chantel Lipp.
In Saskatchewan, the Building Canada program contributed to the Global Transportation Hub in Regina and a new bridge in Saskatoon.
The federal government intends to have the new infrastructure program in place for the 2014 construction season.