The city of Ottawa has unveiled an $11.2-million capital spending plan supported with a federal-provincial injection of COVID-19 resilience funds for infrastructure projects. Funds will be allocated throughout Ottawa’s 23 city wards and put toward outdoor recreational facilities, pedestrian safety measures, and HVAC and digital connectivity upgrades in community centres and other municipal buildings.
Through Infrastructure Canada’s COVID-19 resilience infrastructure stream, the Canadian government earmarked $3 billion to underwrite quick-to-deploy projects that can be completed in a short time period. Provincial governments are expected to contribute 20 per cent of project costs, while federal funds cover the full amount in the territories.
In Ottawa, the federal share of $8.9 million and provincial add-on of $2.2 million will be channelled to more than 55 separate initiatives. These range from low-cost $7,000 enhancements to broadband service in several community centres, to the construction of two new public washrooms at $430,000 each, to a $1.3-million investment in a multi-use pathway system in Kanata.
Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson notes that the city’s three priority directions for the funds are: public washrooms for areas with high-volume pedestrian traffic in the Byward Market and on Sparks Street; active transportation, including walking/cycling paths, sidewalks and pedestrian cross-overs and signals; and building upgrades and repairs. In the latter category, $1.185 million will go to HVAC and mechanical renewal and other upgrades in two of the city’s emergency shelters.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has been difficult on our community and our residents,” Watson says. “This funding will also assist us in making improvements to active transportation infrastructure in our city, which promotes physical activity and connectivity, and helps improve neighbourhood livability.”