Improving La Vallee's core infrastructure is one of the top priorities for its council in 2020.
“Our roads and bridge infrastructure is one of the few things that the municipality does have control over but a big thing is to secure capital funding to make improvements,” said La Vallee's reeve, Ken McKinnon, who's currently serving his fifth term.
Although, securing financing for projects from higher levels of government is always a challenge, he noted.
McKinnon said this year the town is looking to improve the La Vallee Road North corridor, from Highway 11 to Wasaw Road.
He told the Times the municipality also plans to make improvements along Wasaw Road from Highway 613 North to Highway 611 South to connect with Northwest Bay and Mitaanjigamiing when funding becomes available.
The township applied for financial assistance from the province and federal government for the project in 2019 but was turned down.
Although, McKinnon said in the future when funding opportunities arise again they'll be in better shape since all of the project's pre-engineering and consulting work has been completed.
“It's not just a simple case of filling out an application, it's quite complicated,” he noted.
Looking ahead, McKinnon told the Times he hopes to make improvements to La Vallee's facilities such as its community hall, rink, playgrounds, and sports field
Although, the municipality's tax base is small, which poses challenges when trying to improve or replace facilities and infrastructure.
“That is probably the biggest challenge for the municipality-it doesn't matter what the project is-to secure capital financing to make those improvements,” McKinnon explained.
As well, securing the funding to do consulting and pre-engineering work to be able to even submit applications is an obstacle for smaller communities like La Vallee.
When looking back at some of the municipality's highlights from 2019, McKinnon pointed to work that's being done in collaboration with the local Lions Club to improve the playground in La Vallee's recreation area.
“That's going to be a great asset to our community,” he enthused.
"We'll hopefully, within another year, have a top of the line playground equipped area at our sports fields.
“Hats off to the local Lions Club who's been able to work with us to secure the funding to make these improvements,” McKinnon added.
Meanwhile, La Vallee's council welcomed three new members following the province's municipal election in Oct. 2018 and they've adapted well to their new roles, according to McKinnon.
“I think it's always good to have new blood, new ideas, new energy,” he lauded.
All of Ontario's municipal councils will finish their terms on Nov. 14, 2022.