New Alliston school project facing shortfall in funding
A planned new Catholic elementary school in the Alliston Treetops
community is the third local capital project facing unfunded shortfalls
in trade-war tariffs levied on steel (25 per cent) and aluminum (10 per
The Simcoe Muskoka District Catholic School Board (SMDCSB) was
allocated $10,344,569 last January to build a new school to accommodate
470 students. The project also included an additional
$1,588,137 investment for three child care rooms (49 spaces). However,
those grants were announced prior to the May 31, 2018 American imposed
duties. Canada retaliated on July 1 with similar trade-restrictive
countermeasures on up to $16.6 billion in imports of steel, aluminum
and other products from the United States.
Pauline Stevenson, SMDCSB Communications Manager told Free Press Online
via email, "all aspects of the project are continuing, the project is
not on hold."
The two-storey school building is expected to be 47,480 sq. ft.,
L-shaped configuration with a chapel located at the front entrance.
kindergarten and 15 classrooms, child care spaces would cover 4,284 sq.
ft. over three rooms
accommodating infants, toddlers and preschoolers. It is scheduled to
open in September 2020.
"We have initiated a dialogue with the Ministry (of Education) to raise
concerns related to capital funding levels for all projects," wrote Ms
Stevenson. "There are new economic realities like aluminum and steel
tariffs, rising interest rates and a saturated market. All Ontario
school boards are struggling with rising costs for capital projects,
but the ministry is not providing the necessary additional funding to
offset these increases."
Other projects similarly impacted in New Tecumseth include the new
Tottenham library branch, whose work stopped completely last fall,
after the Town and the contractor couldn't agree on who should finance
the additional tariffs.
And, according to the 2019 municipal budget draft, the estimated cost
to build the new administration centre has climbed to $16.8 million, up
from the approximate $15 million ceiling approved by the previous
council, due to tariffs. The budget presentation to council begins
Thursday (Jan. 10).