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Kirkland Lake wants resource-based communities to get fair cut of cash

'It is time for more equitable revenues for all resource base communities in the North:' Kirkland Lake mayor
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KIRKLAND LAKE — A Northern town is pushing for its fair share of the revenue being generated in and leaving the region.

Kirkland Lake is leading a lobbying effort in hopes of having the province establish a provincial funding model to supplement the expiring Northern Ontario Resource Development Support (NORDS) fund. 

Mayor Stacy Wight's goal is to provide proportional revenues to resource-based communities in the North. She said the government’s help would also alleviate additional burdens resource-based communities face in providing municipal services to industries operating in the region.

“It is time for more equitable revenues for all resource base communities in the North that are proportionate to the revenues leaving our region,” she said.

“We know our gold mines and our forestry sector are putting out a massive amount of money when it comes to the province. But they are taking it from, sometimes our communities themselves, or just outlying areas.”

Since 2021-22, 144 Northern Ontario municipalities have shared $15 million annually. The funding is based on the size of the municipality and has been the same every year. The breakdown for some of the municipalities is: 

  • Greater Sudbury, Thunder Bay, Sault Ste. Marie, North Bay and Timmins - $400,000 each
  • Temiskaming Shores - $225,192
  • Kirkland Lake - $219,240
  • Kapuskasing - $196,516
  • Cochrane - $146,451
  • Hearst - $139,418
  • Iroquois Falls - $132,269
  • Black River-Matheson - $103,059
  • Moonbeam - $85,204
  • Englehart - $77,341
  • Smooth Rock Falls - $76,800
  • Moosonee - $74,672
  • Thornloe - $51,731

The province created the NORDS fund as a way for municipalities to share the benefits of resource development in Northern Ontario and to recognize the impacts of resource development on municipal and community infrastructure. It's in addition to cash that municipalities receive through other provincial programs.

At the May 9 Kirkland Lake council meeting, Coun. Pat Kiely said at the recent Federation of Northern Ontario Municipalities (FONOM) conference, he spoke with Ontario Mines Minister George Pirie, who is also the Timmins MPP.

“I was told that they're working on some type of program in this regard. So our resolution is the perfect timing to remind them that there are other communities like ourselves that have big concerns with revenue sharing,” Kiely said.

Wight said her motion, which was approved at Thursday's meeting, came about through discussions with mayors from the City of Timmins, Municipality of Red Lake and Township of Dubreuilville.

Coun. Rick Owen said he’s glad there’s a coalition of mayors leading this initiative.

“It's much more effective than just one mayor saying it. And I think the fact that the mines minister is from Timmins and a former mining executive, it will help this motion when it gets to the province,” he said.

Owen said he doesn’t want the mining companies to pay additional tax but wants the municipality to get its fair share of the taxes on products produced in Kirkland Lake.

“During my first term on council, the very first motion I put forward in this chamber was asking the province to live up to their promises that they made during the election. That the mineral taxes that they were collecting from the mines and municipalities would stay in the municipalities. They did not act on that,” he said.

“Instead, two, three years later, they come up with this NORDS programs, which is nowhere near the amount of money that goes out of this community.”

— TimminsToday