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HomeLocal NewsSt. PaulSt. Paul County and Town Voice Concerns Over Insufficient Provincial Infrastructure Funding

St. Paul County and Town Voice Concerns Over Insufficient Provincial Infrastructure Funding

St. Paul Concerned About Infrastructure Funding in Alberta’s 2024 Budget

Officials in the Town of St. Paul and the County of St. Paul have voiced apprehension regarding the lack of infrastructure funding outlined in the 2024 Alberta Budget presented on February 29th.

Reeve Glen Ockerman of the County of St. Paul expressed a mixed sentiment about the provincial budget, acknowledging positive aspects such as increased healthcare funding but highlighting concerns about infrastructure. While acknowledging some improvements in healthcare, Ockerman stressed that there’s still much work to be done, especially considering the strain on the healthcare system due to Alberta’s population growth.

Of particular concern is the absence of significant funding for infrastructure projects in the St. Paul region, notably for the replacement of aging wastewater and water systems. Ockerman lamented the missed opportunity in the budget to address these pressing infrastructure needs, citing the $23 million LAM Project aimed at replacing outdated water distribution and wastewater collection systems in Lottie Lake, Ashmont, and Mallaig.

During a recent County of St. Paul council meeting, discussions revolved around the necessity of federal and provincial contributions for the LAM Project to proceed, as the lack of funding from these sources poses a significant obstacle.

Ockerman also raised concerns about the escalating costs of providing essential services amidst population growth, emphasizing the need for increased funding to maintain service levels for residents. The current Local Government Fiscal Framework provides some capital funding to municipalities, but Ockerman noted that municipalities often end up bearing additional costs previously covered by the province, such as policing expenses.

Similarly, Mayor Maureen Miller of the Town of St. Paul expressed disappointment over the lack of funding for infrastructure projects in the town, pointing out a prolonged absence of such support. Additionally, Miller highlighted the uncertainty surrounding grant proposals for senior housing initiatives, emphasizing the importance of government support in addressing these pressing needs.

Despite some relief regarding funding for Highway 881 improvements, Miller and other officials expressed frustration over the absence of budget allocations for crucial projects like Highway 28, vital for regional economic development.

In summary, while acknowledging certain positive aspects of the budget, officials in St. Paul remain concerned about the insufficient infrastructure funding and the broader challenges facing their communities.

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