Federal Loan Assistance Supports New Fire Hall, Road Improvements
Millions of Canadians from coast to coast to coast — including residents of Gander, Newfoundland and Labrador — are enjoying a better quality of life thanks to infrastructure improvements made possible by Canada’s Economic Action Plan (CEAP).
In the case of Gander, CEAP assistance came in the form of a direct low-cost loan of $2 million from the Municipal Infrastructure Lending Program (MILP) to support the construction of a new fire hall as well as major improvements to five roads in the community. Gander’s new $5.5-million fire hall received a $1.5-million loan from MILP.
Delivered by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, MILP provided $2 billion over two years in direct low-cost loans to municipalities for housing-related infrastructure projects that support new or existing residential areas. Eligible projects included fire halls and local transportation infrastructure within and into residential areas, such as roads, sidewalks, lighting and residential green space.
Gander’s new fire hall, which replaces an older building and was relocated to accommodate growth in the north part of the town, is 50 per cent larger than its predecessor. At 1,300 square metres, the fire hall features four bays, a training centre, and a new emergency operations centre. It opened in July 2011.
“The fire hall gives us a lot more capability,” said Fire Chief Paul Fudge. “We were able to purchase a new truck because of the extra bay that was built, and the training centre is being used by our firefighters as well as firefighters outside of our jurisdiction. It’s a win-win situation for residents both here in Gander and elsewhere in the province.”
Five residential road projects in Gander were also supported by MILP loans totalling more than $513,000. These included the reconfiguration and reconstruction of Fraser Road, on which a large school is located, to improve safety and accommodate high traffic volumes in the area. A new storm sewer was installed on Brock Crescent, and three other roads were upgraded and some sections of the roads were resurfaced.
According to Garry Brown, Director of Finance, MILP helped make the projects more affordable. He estimates that the Town of Gander will save about $200,000 in interest charges over the 15-year loan.
“The savings we got through the MILP loan are significant for a town our size and we will be able to put those savings towards other projects to further benefit our taxpayers,” said Brown.
The new fire hall and two of the road projects also received federal funding of almost $2 million from the Communities Component of the Building Canada Fund. As well, the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador contributed more than $2.7 million to the six infrastructure projects.