Check against delivery
Today, I would like to update the Members on the progress we have made with our commitment to reduce the municipal funding gap and the additional funding support that has been provided for community governments.
This government committed to reducing the funding gap by $5 million, and we have made significant progress on this goal. This past fiscal year we added $2.594 million of ongoing funding for community governments.
Earlier this year Municipal and Community Affairs, or MACA, engaged with the Northwest Territories Association of Communities, to identify how best to strategically invest this new funding. Knowing that the largest funding gap is in Community Public Infrastructure, it was decided that this funding would be allocated to this priority. This additional funding therefore is earmarked for those 19 community governments who have capital funding gaps.
In addition to the infrastructure investment, an additional $740,000 has been approved in the 2021-2022 budget which MACA is allocating to the Environmental Services fund to support community governments with the delivery of water, sewer, and solid waste services for residents.
Mr. Speaker, our mandate commitment is more than just a funding initiative, it also includes a commitment to provide communities with new opportunities to raise additional revenue.
In 2021, MACA along with the Department of Lands and the Department of Executive and Indigenous Affairs have been developing a process guide for municipal governments to manage lands within their municipal boundaries. As part of this process we are also considering current Government of the Northwest Territories policies and procedures that may require amendments. The transfer of lands would better position municipal governments to have administration and control of lands within their community, remove barriers for land transfers, allowing communities to advance their own priorities for land development and present more own-source revenue opportunities.
MACA’s commitment also includes working with communities to reduce or stabilize the cost of delivering core programs and services.
This summer we will be working with communities in the Beaufort Delta and Sahtu regions to coordinate removal of hazardous waste stockpiles within their landfills. This project, as part of the implementation of the NWT Waste Resource Management Strategy, will reduce contamination of NWT lands and extend the lifespans of community landfills. Work will continue in other regions as federal funding has been applied for to continue this work.
We are also working towards implementing the NWT Asset Management Strategy for communities. The Asset Management Strategy will provide communities with more information to implement best practices, improve maintenance and lower costs due to equipment failures and emergency repairs. MACA has already trained six communities to use a computerized asset management program and have plans for up to seven more in 2021.
Mr. Speaker, with the additional investment for community governments I am proud to say we are well on our way to meet our mandate commitment. The department will continue to advance this mandate commitment in future years to include the remaining $1.7 million to reach the total mandate investment of $5 million. We know the challenges our community governments are facing and we will continue to advocate and support them to address their priorities wherever possible.
Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.