Gander Council takes ‘aggressive’ action on infrastructure
Despite the loss of its Municipal Operating Grant (MOG)
and increasing pressure on existing operations resulting from steady growth over the past
decade, the Gander Town Council will embark on an ‘aggressive’ campaign to bolster its
wastewater capacity, responding to several storm-related flooding events in recent years.
Gander’s Deputy Mayor and Finance Committee Chair Cyril Abbott tabled the Town’s 2014
Operating and Capital Budgets at the December 18 regular public meeting of Council. In a
document entitled “Managing Growth”, the Deputy Mayor pointed out that the number of
homes in Gander has increased by 27 per cent in the past 10 years, adding 27 new streets and
some 16 kilometres of associated water and sewer infrastructure and shouldering the related
Throughout that time, MOGs – the share of provincial taxation returned to municipalities to
assist with operational costs – have steadily declined. This year, Government eliminated MOGs
for the province’s seven largest communities, including Gander, and instead offered a one-time,
cost-shared Capital Works Funding Program as a stop-gap measure until a new fiscal
arrangement could be negotiated. The move resulted in a net loss to Gander of $360,900, more
than three per cent of the Town’s annual operating budget.
In addition to these challenges, Deputy Mayor Abbott explained, the effects of climate change
and looming changes to federal wastewater guidelines have combined to make water and
sewer infrastructure Council’s top priority.
“Whether you choose to accept or deny scientific claims regarding climate change, the fact
remains that we have seen three 1-in-100-year storm events in the past four years alone. In
anticipation of more such events, and to comply with future regulatory standards with respect
to wastewater management, Council will be taking proactive and aggressive measures to
enhance our water and sewer infrastructure,” the Deputy Mayor said.