July 19, 2012
Canadian consulting engineer stakeholders in federal long-term infrastructure roundtable talks
Representatives of Canada’s consulting engineering industry are at the table as the federal government rolls out a series of regional roundtables aimed at laying the groundwork for a new long-term infrastructure plan.
To date, officials from provincial associations in Prince Edward Island, Quebec, Ontario and Alberta have participated in the discussions, being hosted by Denis Lebel, minister of transport, infrastructure and communities and Steven Fletcher, minister of state (transport).
The roundtables, being held across the country this summer, are focused on broad directions and principles for a new plan that will extend beyond 2014.
The plan will continue to support infrastructure renewal across Canada through long-term investment programs.
John Gamble, president of the Association of Consulting Engineering Companies-Canada, said ACEC and its member organizations across the country are “grateful” that the industry has been given an opportunity to take part in the consultations.
Other participants include representatives of the provinces and territories and key stakeholders such as the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.
“We’re pleased to see that the work being done by Infrastructure Canada is now moving into the public realm,” Gamble said, noting that ACEC will be at the table when a national roundtable is held later this year.
He said the industry views the roundtables as an opportunity for the stakeholder community “to collectively reinforce the underlying principles that are necessary as we move forward in development of a long-term plan.”
While specific regional priorities and realities need to be addressed at the roundtables, Gamble said there are nevertheless some “underlying core messages” shared by the consulting engineering industry across Canada.
“Our views are well-known to the government,” he said.
“We believe there needs to be a long-term program; that it needs to set clear priorities; and that it needs to clearly establish the roles and responsibilities of all of the partners, both from the private sector and the three levels of government.”
As well, Gamble said, the industry’s view is that projects needs to be prioritized based on community needs and return on investment to taxpayers.
Some element of asset management needs to be incorporated as well, added Gamble.
The roundtables kicked off in St. John’s, N.L. at the end of June.
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