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April 7, 2006
For immediate release
Minister Outlines Budget Initiatives for the Department of Community and Cultural Affairs
Community and Cultural Affairs
As a follow up to the budget, which was tabled by Provincial Treasurer Mitch Murphy on March 30, Minister MacFadyen told his colleagues that the Canada-PEI Infrastructure Program, now in its final year, has approved a total of 81 projects valued at more than $38 million, and that the Municipal Rural Infrastructure Fund (MRIF) has 36 projects in varying states of approval, with an estimated value of more than $20 million.
Minister MacFadyen outlined three primary initiatives being financed through the Strategic Infrastructure Fund, which is designated for projects valued at greater than $10 million. The Charlottetown Water Treatment Plant is expanding and modernizing its operations through a $21.3 million upgrade agreement, and the Summerside Water Treatment plant has been allocated $15.9 million to expand and upgrade its operations. The Minister noted that a five-year $10.8 million sewer and water extension project is underway in Stratford as well.
“The New Deal for Cities and Communities, also known as the Gas Tax Program, has nearly half of its first $4.5 million earmarked for sewer and water projects in Island communities,” Minister MacFadyen said. “As well, new infrastructure agreements are in the planning stages and will come in with a value of $33.4 million.”
To administer the infrastructure programs, the Canada-Prince Edward Island Infrastructure Secretariat has been established and is operating out of a new office at 75 Fitzoy Street.
The Minister also took the opportunity in the Legislature today to talk about the Canada Summer Games, which Prince Edward Island will be hosting in 2009. Government has committed a total of $8 million to the 2009 Games, with $3.6 million already allocated.
“We want our athletes to have every opportunity to reach their full potential,” Minister MacFadyen said. “To that end, I am pleased to announce that, for the Best Ever Program, we have increased our current annual commitment of $138,000 to $261,000 in this 06-07 budget, and $403,000 for the fiscal year 07-08.”
The Minister Responsible for Sport noted that the Best Ever Program is a program enabling Government and the partnering sports community to assist sporting organizations identify and develop athletes and team officials in preparation for the 2009 games. This program will also enable sporting groups to train field-of-play officials. Volunteer team officials, along with an Advisory Committee, made up of Islanders from various sporting fields, will work with local organizations to plan for performance, training, development, sport nutrition, and sport psychology.
“My department is moving forward,” said Minister MacFadyen. “We have allocated nearly $1.5 million in our 2006 budget to establish the new Division of Public Safety.” The division will encompass the office of the Fire Marshal, Emergency Measures Organization, the administration of our 911 program, and a new section dedicated to joint emergency preparedness projects.
“Staff in this new emergency preparedness section will be working with local and national groups on emergency response planning for both provincial and municipal governments, for industry and for public institutions such as hospitals and manors.”
Programs and services offered through the Department of Community and Cultural Affairs administer grant and program funding, protect the property and safety of Islanders, oversee labour and industrial relations, celebrate culture and heritage, and provide for sports and recreation activities.
Minister MacFadyen took the opportunity during his statement in the Legislature today to commend the staff in the Department of Community and Cultural Affairs. “Staff in my department work hard every day in their respective divisions, and I want to take this opportunity to recognize them for all they do and to assure Islanders that the Department of Community and Cultural Affairs is working on hard their behalf.”