UMNB Calls for partnerships, not roadblocks on infrastructure development.
November 9th, 2023
Fredericton, N.B -The Union of Municipalities of New Brunswick (UMNB) is disappointed to read Premier Blaine Higgs’s comments on federal funding transfers to municipalities. Premier Higgs made the comments following the Council of the Federation meeting earlier this week.
“The premier’s comments are unacceptable and, if implemented, risk the development of many infrastructure projects in municipalities for years to come,” said Andrew Black, president of the UMNB. “Instead of vetoing development, our members want to see increased partnerships with all orders of government to help ease the infrastructure deficit and housing crisis. The premier’s comments only complicate and slow down development.”
Funding agreements between the different orders of government are critical for municipalities to take on large-scale infrastructure projects as they lack the fiscal capacity to take on these projects on their own. A fiscal summit to discuss municipal financial challenges originally scheduled for September has been postponed, and coupled with other fiscal challenges, the premier’s recent comments on infrastructure are concerning and dismiss the important role played by municipal elected officials in meeting the needs of their communities.
Housing and infrastructure are critically linked, and both require a streamlined process to assist municipalities in meeting the growth that New Brunswick communities are experiencing. The provincial government released a housing strategy earlier this year that relies on funding and partnership from CMHC and other federal departments, along with municipalities.
“It is counterintuitive for Premier Higgs to suggest putting up more roadblocks on the development of infrastructure in our municipalities,” said Black. “At a time when our citizens are facing increased affordability challenges, it is critical to partner with all orders of government to meet the local challenges and not be gatekeepers who slow things down.”
UMNB urges the provincial government to work collaboratively with all orders of government to successfully complete infrastructure projects and not veto development for communities who have worked hard to access infrastructure funding.
About the UMNB:
The UMNB is a bilingual association of 54 municipalities of all sizes and linguistic backgrounds. Together, our members represent almost 70% of the NB population.
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