Canadian Consulting Engineer

Industry Minister heaps praise on engineering in Ottawa

The Honorable Tony Clement, Canada's Ministry of Industry, only had to walk a couple of blocks from the Parliament ...

June 8, 2009   Canadian Consulting Engineer

The Honorable Tony Clement, Canada’s Ministry of Industry, only had to walk a couple of blocks from the Parliament buildings in Ottawa to have lunch with Consulting Engineers of Ontario at the Chateau Laurier hotel on June 8. About 40 guests were in attendance. Once there, all he had to do, he said, was look out of the hotel window at the Rideau Canal to see the benefits of good engineering.

The Rideau Canal has lasted 170 years, he said, “which shows that if you build it well it will last.” Then in more words that were music to the ears of the engineers, he recalled how the canal was built to move goods from Canada’s hinterland, and added, “which shows how structures directly affect our economies.”

Mr. Clement then went on to list a dizzying stream of new federal funding that is being poured into infrastructure construction — billions upon billions going to the Infrastructure Stimulus Fund, the Building Canada fund, the Knowledge Infrastructure program and the Clean Energy Fund, for example.

He said that the government has received over 2,000 applications for the Stimulus Fund with “shovel ready” projects, and that Infrastructure Minister John Baird’s office was working 24/7 to review the applications and would be ready to announce the results soon. Already the government has announced approval of projects such as the Peace Bridge border crossing improvements, expansion of the Toronto Transit Commission’s Sheppard Line, and expansion of Highway 17 to the Ontario-Manitoba border near Kenora, Clement said.

During workshops in the afternoon, the consulting engineers expressed great concerns about the short timeline for projects to qualify for funding under the Stimulus Funding Program. It requires that projects be completed by March 2011, a timescale that includes two winter seasons. The consensus was that the program would benefit greatly if the deadline could be extended by six months, at least until November 2011.

 


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