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CivicAction report takes a long view of federal infrastructure spending

Written by Sammy Hudes
Published in the Toronto Star

With Ottawa earmarking $60 billion for infrastructure spending over the next decade, a coalition of GTA civic leaders is urging investment in projects that will help communities prosper over the long haul.

CivicAction, in a report being released Thursday in collaboration with Deloitte, makes a variety of proposals for prioritizing that spending.

It consulted more than 80 organizations spanning business, political, community service, arts and culture and academic fields in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, regarding the challenges they face and their infrastructure needs.

“Governments make decisions about infrastructure investments, but every one of us lives with those decisions,” said CEO Sevaun Palvetzian. She said those decisions must have “long-term payoff,” rather than be “one-time, bang-for-your-buck” investments.

“Often in our consultations we had people refer to the gazebos in the north,” she said — a reference to a federally financed community project in a Conservative riding during the 2010 preparations for the G20/G8 summit that came in for much criticism.

“That comes out of a previous era, where there were some infrastructure projects that may have been more about local demand in the moment and not necessarily about long-term benefit,” Palvetzian said.

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