By Kevin Woodhouse
Driving anywhere in the city of Montreal, orange cones and streets that are desperately in need of repair are evident in all four corners of the city. But according to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), 60 per cent of all municipal roads in Canada need to be redone.
This issue, as well as railway safety and affordable social housing, was discussed by FCM president and Lachine borough mayor Claude Dauphin during a recent meeting with Prime Minister Stephen Harper in Ottawa.
“Water and sewage treatment plants as well as aqueducts need to be repaired as well,” Dauphin told The Suburban. “And we need to ensure that there are federal government programs to meet municipalities’ needs.”
With railway and train crashes making national headline news, including the horrific tragedy that beset Lac Mégantic this past summer, railway safety, particularly for towns and cities that have railways through their communities, was another issue brought to the table.
Another pressing concern is the lack of social housing available across the country. Currently, the federal government offers $1.7 billion in annual funding, a number Dauphin said needs to be maintained and even augmented in the years to come.
“We need to adopt a resolution that offers a long term and credible plan from the government and the private sector,” said Dauphin. “tax incentives for builders could be a start because every dollar invested in construction sees a $1.40 return on its investment. This would be good for the economy.”
“With Canadians facing a $1.3 trillion personal debt, the housing crisis could be of our greatest threats and we need government investment for new home construction as well as renovating social housing projects built decades ago,” Dauphin said.
Dauphin is hoping that the federal government’s next budget will provide a “clear and effective statement concerning the housing crunch.”