County needs money for bridge, station replacements
Submitted photo Incorporated in 1861, the County of Renfrew is made up of 17 lower tier municipalities.
The County of Renfrew should be prepared to sock away capital funding for potential future infrastructure projects such as the Petawawa River bridge and the expansion or replacement of land ambulance stations.
That was the message from some County councillors as the upper tier gathered Thursday to deliberate the 2018 budget. Renfrew Reeve Peter Emon warned that the county may be faced with having to renovate or replace ambulance base stations in Pembroke and Eganville, two initiatives not on the current 10-year captial plan.
The plan requires an investment of $244 million from 2018 to 2027 in order for the county to maintain its considerable asset portfolio of equipment, buildings, roads and bridges. So far, $25 million has been maintained in a capital reserve. However, Admaston/Bromley Mayor Michael Donohue pushed for a levy reduction from three per cent increase to 2.3 per cent, contending the county has exceeded their targets in allocating money to the tangible capital assets reserve.
Chief administrative officer Jim Hutton reminded council that the current asset review of county buildings in Pembroke could affect the plan. He added the widening of Petawawa Boulevard, also known as County Road 51, is also not in the plan. Such a project, estimated to cost $19 million, would include the widening or replacement of the Petawawa River bridge.
“There is nothing wrong with the structure but the issue is traffic and accommodation for the growth in Petawawa,” said Hutton.
The future of the project hinges on funding from the federal and provincial governments. Garrison Petawawa has indicated to the county they would be willing to support and submit an application for funding of a portion of the project under an infrastructure program administered by the Department of National Defence. Petawawa Mayor Bob Sweet pointed out that the major capital investments at the garrison, including the new $360 million Canadian Special Operations Regiment building, will change the current value assessment for the county. In addition, the infrastructure growth will result in more personnel for the garrison.
“The Petawawa Bridge is a major initiative,” said Sweet. “Sooner rather than later it is going to have to be done. It is a major challenge but it is something we will have to address.”