VANCOUVER – Metro Vancouver is asking the federal government to match and exceed provincial and municipal funding commitments for infrastructure and housing projects.
Metro Vancouver board chair George Harvie spoke to the House of Commons’ Standing Committee on Finance on Nov. 17 as part of its pre-budget consultations in advance of the 2024 federal budget.
“Our main request is that the federal government contribute one-third of Phase 1 funding for the Iona Island Wastewater Treatment Plant Project, which is the largest infrastructure project in Metro Vancouver’s history. Metro Vancouver and the Province of British Columbia have each committed their $250 million share, and we are urging the federal government to also support this essential project,” Harvie said.
In a release, the Iona Island Wastewater Treatment Plant was cited as a key project currently being upgraded to meet regulatory requirements and to ensure public and environmental health.
“The total cost of the project will be upwards of $10 billion and work will continue in phases until 2039. To ensure that sewage rates remain affordable and predictable in the region, the federal government must commit one-third of funding for the entire project,” the release said.
Affordable housing was also highlighted as a key Metro Vancouver priority with the organization’s housing arm sited as one of the largest non-profit affordable housing providers in B.C.
The province has invested $158 million and signed an agreement with Metro Vancouver to support the delivery of over 2,000 new affordable units and is asking the federal government to contribute $166 million in financing, $40 million in forgivable loans, and to sign an agreement to help deliver the full portfolio of projects over the next 10 years.
“In a region that remains far too costly for young families, this funding is critical to ensure that affordable housing projects are available to those who need them. As local leaders, we must do our best to lessen the financial burden on our constituents, and partnering with senior levels of government is critical to achieving this goal,” Harvie said.
“Without support from the federal government, regional infrastructure cannot keep pace with population growth. We call on the federal government to ensure that Metro Vancouver and its residents receive a fair share of federal infrastructure dollars. Only with a willing federal partner can our region deliver the programs and infrastructure that are so desperately needed,” he added.