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Infrastructure sessions at Canadian Construction Association annual conference to focus on creative funding solutions

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by Vince Versace last update:Mar 8, 2011

Is there a made-in-Canada funding solution to help tackle the nation’s infrastructure deficit? That is the question a two-day expert panel will explore at the 93rd annual Canadian Construction Association (CCA) conference being held in Hawaii this week.
Canadian Construction Association Hawaii Conference logo
Canadian Construction Association Hawaii Conference logo

Is there a made-in-Canada funding solution to help tackle the nation’s infrastructure deficit? That is the question a two-day expert panel will explore at the 93rd annual Canadian Construction Association (CCA) conference being held in Hawaii this week.

The two-day session called Funding Options for Canada’s Infrastructure: Is there no “Made in Canada” solution,? will feature construction, economic, surety and government stakeholders discussing the successes and challenges in finding an effective infrastructure funding solution.

"What is our biggest challenge? We know there is an infrastructure deficit, but how can governments fund what they need to do?" says Dee Miller 2011 CCA conference chair. “If it means multiple different funding mechanisms or a sole different funding mechanism, how do we, as the contractor community, respond to that?”

The first part of the two-day session begins today and is primarily focused on the British Columbia (B.C.) experience with varied funding solutions to tackle infrastructure needs.

The expected panelists are Casey Vander Ploeg, senior policy analyst at the Canada West Foundation, Dan Doyle, former B.C. deputy minister of transportation and infrastructure and former infrastructure vice-president of the Vancouver Winter Olympics organizing committee and Sarah Clark, CEO of Partnerships B.C.

Vander Ploeg is expected to provide an overview of various infrastructure financing options available to government. Doyle will speak to why the B.C. provincial government and the Vancouver Olympic committee made certain funding choices in the past.

“Sarah Clark will talk about the mandate of Partnerships B.C., their successes and some of the obstacles they’ve experienced in participating in some public-private partnership models,” says Miller.

The second part of the session takes place Wednesday, March 9 and has a wide-ranging collection of panelists providing expertise on various aspects of infrastructure funding solutions. The expected panelists are Pat Fiacco, mayor of Regina, Kees Cusveller, vice-president, business development at Graham Construction, Guy Felio, municipal infrastructure report card lead consultant, David Bowcott of Aon Risk Services and Vander Ploeg.

Among the items the group will discuss are the results of the recent infrastructure summit held in Regina and the status of the infrastructure report card being developed by the CCA, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, the Canadian Society for Civil Engineering and the Canadian Public Works Association.

“What is the state of the infrastructure deficit? Fifty-five per cent of infrastructure requirements are at the municipal level,” notes Miller. “Municipalities are quite limited by having to use property taxes for the replacement of infrastructure.” Both sessions will also discuss how small and mid-sized contractors can compete on the changing construction industry landscape.

“The marketplace has changed, how contracts come together has changed and our competitors have changed,” says Miller. “It is really making us sit up and realize if we want to compete and be successful, we need to change too.”

last update:Mar 8, 2011

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