Carleton Place adopts safety plan, applies for provincial infrastructure funds

CARLETON PLACE – Carleton Place council is working fast to cash in on some of that recently announced $30 billion in provincial funding.

Council officially authorized staff to submit an application for the Central Bridge Project under the Rural and Northern Infrastructure Program (RNIF) during last week’s council meeting. RNIF is a $30 billion provincial infrastructure funding program focusing on roads and bridges, air and marine infrastructure open to municipalities with a population of less than 100,000. 

The Central Bridge project is the largest and most expensive infrastructure project facing the Town of Carleton Place in the next few years. Under the RNIF, the town has the potential to apply for up to $5 million based on a 50 per cent federal contribution, 33.33 per cent provincial contribution and with 16.67 per cent being the town’s contribution. 

Last October, the town applied for Top-Up funding under the Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund (OCIF) and was waiting to hear back on the application. The province recently announced it would not be proceeding with this program. Instead, they indicated anyone who would have been successful under that program would be eligible for “fast-tracking” under the new RNIF. Carleton Place was selected to be fast-tracked for its Central Bridge project and will be submitting an application by the April 15 deadline.

In other council news, the council adopted a plan for Community Safety and Well Being (CSWB) in conjunction with the Lanark County Situation Table. Recent amendments to the Police Services Act mandate municipalities to adopt a CSWB Plan within two years of the adoption of the amendments.

The act permits municipalities to work in partnership with neighbouring municipalities and/or First Nation communities to develop a joint plan. The approved plan can be found on the town’s website.  The purpose of the plan is to examine assets in the community, assess gaps that exist and develop strategies leading to the ultimate outcome of enhancing community safety and well-being for the residents of Lanark County and Smiths Falls.

The CSWB plan allows municipalities to take a leadership role in defining and addressing priority risks in the community through proactive, integrated strategies that ensure vulnerable populations receive the help they need from the providers (i.e. health/mental health, education, community/social services and children/youth services) best suited to support them.

A contract was awarded in the amount of $11,000 to a company called Big Thinking to assist staff and council in the development of a Strategic Plan for the corporation.  Work on the plan will commence immediately with the project to be completed by June 30. 

The objective of the Strategic Planning exercise is to provide an opportunity for members of council, the Chief Administrative Officer and senior staff to focus on longer-term objectives for the town, to identify external and internal factors potentially influencing the achievement of those objectives and to create a guiding document for the town’s strategic direction for the next three to five years for council’s deliberations during this term as well as laying the groundwork for the next council.  

 This project will produce a realistic, manageable action pan council can use to track implementation progress and Senior Staff can use to guide management of operations of the Town’s services.  The intent is that the action plan will lay out, project by project, specific outcomes, people responsible and timing.