No worry yet over city projects

The chair of the city’s finance committee isn’t worried yet that aballooning provincial deficit could put multimillion dollar municipalinfrastructure projects at risk.

The chair of the city’s finance committee isn’t worried yet that a ballooning provincial deficit could put multimillion dollar municipal infrastructure projects at risk.

Ald. Gord Lowe told Metro yesterday the province has already extended the timeline for delivery of Municipal Sustainability Initiative funding, but he is well aware the province holds all of the cards — and the city may be forced to re-evaluate the timeline and support for some projects if the province does the same.

“At the moment, I have no reason to believe they will (change the funding),” said Lowe.

“But it’s always something we keep our eye on.”

Premier Ed Stelmach, at an announcement for homeless funding Thursday in Calgary, told reporters he expects weak natural gas prices and a sluggish economy to push the projected provincial deficit higher than the anticipated $4.7 billion.

The premier acknowledged recent positive economic progress, but added it will take time for the province to fully recover from a stretch of lower commodity prices.

Lowe said he is aware the province’s recent commitment to giving a “haircut” to various departments likely means the city will also have to bear the brunt of its share of cuts.

“When provincial departments take a haircut, it’s very often that municipal governments get the headache,” he said.

Lowe said he is worried about the effect on various city infrastructure projects if the province does alter its MSI funding agreement.

“All of these (projects) then become at risk,” he said. “It has a real domino effect.”

A provincial economic update on first-quarter results is expected at the end of August.

 
 
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