Canada’s municipal infrastructure is ‘at risk’

Twenty per cent of municipal roads in Canada are in poor or very poor condition, according to a new report on the state of city infrastructure.

The study also found that one in four waste-water plants needs significant upgrades.

Municipal infrastructure is “at risk,” said Karen Leibovici, president of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, which published the Canadian Infrastructure Report Card on Tuesday.

The report is based on a survey of 123 municipalities, including Montreal and 11 other Quebec cities.

The survey found that 17 per cent of municipal roads are in poor condition and four per cent are very poor.

“Poor” is defined as deterioration requiring “significant maintenance to remain operational.” “Very poor” roads are those requiring “major overhaul/replacement” in the short term.

“We’re talking about a crisis and if we don’t act quickly, it will get worse,” said Claude Dauphin, mayor of Montreal’s Lachine borough and vice-president of the municipalities group.

The report does not contain recommendations.

The FCM compiled only national statistics, and it did not provide regional figures or a breakdown showing how Montreal compares with other cities.

In August, a city of Montreal status report indicated the number of municipal bridges and tunnels in “critical” condition has more than doubled over a year. The report showed 27 of Montreal’s 587 structures were in “critical condition” in 2011, compared with 12 in 2010.

The report card is available at canadianinfrastructure.ca