McCharles hopes provincial election will mean much-needed cash

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Petrolia’s Mayor has high hopes a hotly contested provincial election could mean cold cash for some of the much needed infrastructure projects.

John McCharles shared his hopes during the town’s annual New Year’s Levee.

“I have high hopes there will be a provincial election,” McCharles told The Independent. “Normally, when there is a provincial election, politicians start handing out money and we’ll have our hands out.”

“We have some projects around that we want to do but can’t without the provincial government.” Over the past year and a half, provincial and federal funding for infrastructure projects has been very had to come by as upper levels of government try to balance their books.

That means municipalities like Petrolia either put off big projects or pay for everything themselves. That is difficult when road reconstruction projects such as rebuilding roads in the Florence Street area or the downtown stretch into the millions of dollars.

“They’re high priorities but their high in cost.”

McCharles is also looking forward to the construction of the Family Health Team building in 2014. The town recently approved the site plan for the $4 million building and construction is expected to begin this winter.

Also this winter, council will be working on the 2014 budget. “I don’t see a major increase in taxes… perhaps a small increase in taxes,” says McCharles. He adds there hasn’t been a lot of growth in Petrolia in 2013 to help offset any increased costs. He’s hoping that, too, can change in 2014.

“One big announcement in the Chemical Valley,” says McCharles referring to a potential $1.5 billion plant at Nova Chemicals, “would stimulate growth in all of Lambton County.

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