City laments federal budget's lack of clarity

By Josh Hall (Twitter: @Vancan19)
February 28, 2018 - 2:47pm Updated: March 1, 2018 - 8:44am

City of Red Deer officials are frustrated with the federal budget.

Mayor Tara Veer says the budget announced Tuesday fails to address municipal funding and partnerships, nor does it mention dollars for infrastructure projects.

 

 

“At The City of Red Deer, we believe in the power of municipalities to nation build. Community building is country building,” Veer says. "While the budget details have yet to be released, we are concerned there was no direct recognition of the infrastructure needs of Canada’s cities.”

Veer says The City is also unsure if its population of just over 100,000 will put it in a more or less competitive position when it comes to funding eligibility.

There were some positives to be taken from the budget, Veer admits, as she commended the federal government for including budgetary measures continue strengthening the relationship with Canada’s Indigenous community, including efforts to provide more housing.

She is also hopeful the budget will build on past commitments to the National Housing Strategy, which could enhance our city’s inventory of much needed affordable housing.

Veer also notes The City is awaiting more details on how revenue from the legalization of marijuana will flow through from the Government of Alberta to municipalities, and how the federal budget will help in addressing the national opioid crisis.

“Our initial assessment is we’re not sure how that will specifically apply or even if that global sum will be enough for it to trickle down to a community the size of Red Deer,” Veer says. “Cities all across the country are contending with what is a very challenging situation. Until they release the specific details, we won’t know how Red Deer can potentially benefit in terms of helping to resolve our own crisis.”

The feds say they'll invest $231.4 million over the next five years to fight the opioid crisis. A one-time injection of $150 million will go towards improving access to treatment programs.

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