After investing in hard infrastructure — roads, bridges, transit projects and sewer projects — for the first part of the recession, the provincial and federal governments turned their attention to the “soft-service side of infrastructure,” the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing said Wednesday.
The three levels of government will each invest $1.2 million — for a total of $3.6 million — to expand and renovate the Western Ottawa Community Resource Centre. The addition of a fourth floor will add 6,000 square feet of space to expand services.
While hard infrastructure is “very important,” said Jim Watson, who is also the MPP of Ottawa West-Nepean, “we shouldn’t — and didn’t forget there’s another side to infrastructure, the so-called soft service side of infrastructure. Those organizations in the not-for profit sector also have infrastructure needs… but just don’t have the resources.
“I think it’s important that when we look at infrastructure, there’s also social infrastructure — helping people, whether it’s through counselling or childcare or seniors programming.”
The investment will not only help create jobs, but deliver essential community services to improve the quality of life for residents in Ottawa, Watson said.
“All across the province, communities have suffered from an economic downturn that has hit the world hard,” said Minister of State and Carleton Mississippi Mills MP Gordon O’Connor.
With over 70 employees, the 25-year-old centre is crammed and needs the space, Watson said. The building was designed so that another floor can be added, he said.
“Many of the programs have outgrown their spaces,” said Cathy Jordan, executive director of the Western Ottawa Community Resource Centre.