Federal government denies PPP Canada funding for Calgary rec centres

P3 Rec Centres image
Calgary, AB – Today, Mayor Naheed Nenshi received a letter from PPP (P3) Canada denying approval for partial funding of four critically-needed recreation centres in southeast and northwest Calgary. The grant for approximately $99 million would have covered nearly 25 per cent of the cost of these important pieces of community infrastructure.

Since late 2009, The City of Calgary has engaged in the P3 application process incurring an expense of $3.1 million. In March 2011, P3 Canada indicated that the process was complete and requiring final approval from the federal government.

What follows is a statement from Mayor Nenshi on this situation:

"On behalf of all Calgarians, I am very disappointed at this surprising development.

“For two years, we have worked with P3 Canada—in good faith—to secure this source of federal funding for critical community infrastructure projects. One of the reasons we went through this process was because we understood P3 Canada was an independent, merit-based body free from political interference. Had we known otherwise, we may not have chosen to spend $3.1 million to go through the process.

“More than 300,000 Calgarians are negatively affected by this decision. We are the economic engine of Canada and must keep up with growth. Investment in community infrastructure, like recreation centres, is taxpayer dollars well spent.

“P3 Canada is meant to be merit-based, and our project was unanimously approved by their board earlier this year. Yet, the federal government, including the six Calgary MPs, somehow decided that this project did not meet their criteria which explicitly includes recreation facilities.

“Despite this disappointment, we need to move forward on these critically-needed recreation facilities. I have directed Administration to assess how we can move forward with these projects without the expected P3 funding. Calgarians of every age deserve good quality recreation and community spaces no matter what part of the city they live in.

“I have also requested a meeting with the Prime Minister Stephen Harper to discuss this development and other options to fund important community infrastructure. I will also ask that, should this funding not come through as expected, the federal government refund the $3.1 million we have already spent through the process of obtaining the grant money.

“Of course, I am hopeful that we can find a solution. In the meantime, I encourage all Calgarians who feel they should not be so ignored by their federal representatives to call their local MP. We may not be getting the funding we expected, but we can let Ottawa know we’re unhappy about it.”


Contact your Member of Parliament and let them know how you feel:
UPDATE: PPP Canada has advised the Mayor's Office that "Sports Infrastructure is no longer the focus of the PPP Canada Fund. The Fund is focused on economic infrastructure."

Shortly after Mayor Nenshi's presentation (which included a live demo of the PPP Canada website showing where Sports Infrastructure was included as an eligible project) the PPP Canada website was changed to remove reference to Sports Infrastructure. However, Mayor Nenshi's slide presentation to media also includes a screen shot of the PPP Canada website prior to the information being removed.
P3 Rec Centres in Calgary-24-Nov-11

To download Mayor Nenshi's slide presentation to media, click here.

To view the full presentation by Mayor Nenshi as recorded by Global, click here.

UPDATE: Not only was the Sports Infrastructure criteria part of the PPP Canada website, it was also confirmed as part of PPP Canada's 2009-2014 Corporate Plan (see page 55) via an Order in Council recommended by the Minister of Finance and the Treasury Board.