Daniel Arbour, Area A director of the Comox Valley Regional District, has been appointed chair of the Municipal Infrastructure and Transportation committee of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.
The committee is responsible for advising and advocating on the bulk of federal transfers for municipal capital investments. These include a $2 billion annual Community Building fund — a transfer to local governments based on population.
“In B.C., it is administered through the Union of B.C. Municipalities,” Arbour said, noting about $300 million was allocated to 900 projects in B.C. in 2020. “The 10 year agreement across Canada is due for renewal in 2024, and FCM is advocating and requesting a significant increase to the overall contribution based on critical needs.”
In a recent initiative, the federal government announced an annual $3 billion public transit fund to launch in 2026. Arbour said this fund will help local governments with major investments that will help with frequency, accessibility and lowering greenhouse gas emissions.
The Municipal Infrastructure and Transportation committee also provides input on the Community Revitalization Fund, the Universal Broadband Fund and the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Fund. The latter helped fund the Comox Valley Water Treatment Plant.
“In my view, the work of FCM and this committee is critical as local governments across Canada struggle with inflation and critical infrastructure needs,” Arbour said. “While residents generally pay for the bulk of local government services and infrastructure through local property taxes, provincial and federal transfers often make projects affordable. Without federal/provincial contributions, often important capital projects in our communities simply never get off the ground.”