Town to apply again to COMRIF

With news last week the town did not receive any money from the Canada-Ontario Rural Infrastructure Fund (COMRIF) for the $1.9-million underpass renovation project, council agreed Monday to file a second application.
COMRIF will announce Intake Two in the coming weeks through direct contact with eligible municipalities, meaning at that time, the town will get another chance to apply.
All Ontario municipalities of less 250,000 people are eligible to apply for COMRIF to improve their local infrastructure.
Eligible municipalities can submit one application per intake, and may decide to re-submit a project that was not funded under Intake One—the intake the town was denied funding under.
Operations and Facilities manager Doug Brown told council Monday the town’s funding application for two-thirds of the $1.9-million project was turned down—and he’s determined to find out why.
Brown noted he contacted COMRIF last week, and was told there may be a problem with the application. But he still is waiting for more details.
The funding requested would have covered two-thirds of the project, with the final third—about $650,000—to be picked up by the town.
Brown noted only eight communities in Northwestern Ontario got a piece of the $250 million COMRIF had allocated between a total of 120 projects across the province.
“In the Kenora-Rainy River District, only Kenora and Ear Falls received grants. Rainy River District didn’t get any money at all,” said Brown, adding the other six grants were allocated to municipalities in the Thunder Bay-Superior North riding.
As previously reported, the town has been wanting to do the underpass project for several years because the roadway and sidewalks there are in disrepair.
It was anticipating getting it started this month.
The work on the underpass would be done in two phases—the west side first, then the east side—and would take about 16 weeks to complete.
The project would consist of replacing 180 metres of concrete from Third Street East to Fifth Street East, putting in new retaining walls, as well as a new sidewalk and handrail on the west side of the street.
The work also would include modifications to the railway abutment structures (installation of soil anchors), putting up new chain link fences, and upgrading to the storm sewer system (pump house and piping).
The existing roadway also would be reinforced and modified, with a view towards having an alternate truck route to the north sometime down the road.
One lane of traffic would be open at all times during the underpass work, and at no time should residents be forced to take alternate north-south routes, such as McIrvine Road or the emergency railroad crossing at Victoria Avenue.