This year the Manitoba Government gave out close to $40 million in 2023/24 Rural Strategic Infrastructure Basket Funding for 2023/24 to 137 municipalities across the province. Based on 2021 census data, Morden came in with a population of 9,929.  

Mayor Brandon Burley explained what this means for the community. 

"The City of Morden got approximately three quarters of a million dollars (761,267.86  exactly) in a one-time top up as part of the Municipal Basket Funding from the province of Manitoba, specifically geared towards infrastructure and building infrastructure within the City of Morden. It's no secret that we have upcoming infrastructure challenges, and I anticipate that this funding will go towards meeting that bottleneck of infrastructure challenge we have. I don't anticipate anything new or novel with it, but I think it will help us either defray some of those expenses or be able to accelerate our capital plans as it is." 

Burley shared some early conversation taking place around the council table.

"There is a lot of appetite on Council for a significant portion of that infrastructure money to be saved. We're in a position right now where we need to be looking at our infrastructure reserves and the kind of dollars we're socking away for a bad day. And so, I anticipate there'll be a portion of that, that is contributed there as well."  

With that said, there is no firm commitment as to where the money will be allocated. 

"We'll be waiting till the 2024 budget to determine where it's specifically being allocated. I know we do have some infrastructure challenges, both with roads, First Street being one of them, but we also have capital assets like fire trucks and things that are going to hit us pretty quick. We're going to wait for the 2024 budget season and just see how far we can take that and what the priorities are as we look at the next year and the five years to come." 

Burley is grateful for the funds and the flexibility is gives council to make decisions moving forward. 

"It's awfully good to have because at budget season, we're always looking at capital plans and trying to figure out which items can be pushed along the longest. And you certainly don't want to start digging into your operating costs to fund capital because all that new capital then has to be maintained as well.  It's not ideal to be robbing Peter to pay Paul and in this sense, this helps us do that a little bit less. It's a good start and it's a good contribution to our budget because it has very few strings attached to it." 

In response to Canada's Online News Act and Meta (Facebook and Instagram) removing access to local news from their platforms, PembinaValleyOnline encourages you to get your news directly from your trusted source by bookmarking this page and downloading the PembinaValleyOnline app.