The province, the federal government and municipality are investing up to $92 million in infrastructure improvements to build better communities and create more jobs for Nova Scotians. The governments of Nova Scotia and Canada announced today, Oct. 19, they will consider the Halifax Central Library project in Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) as a priority for infrastructure funding consideration. Both governments also announced funding under the Provincial-Territorial Base Fund to support sewer-system improvements in Cape Breton and road initiatives across the province. The joint announcement was made by Premier Darrell Dexter, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal Bill Estabrooks, federal Minister of Transport and Infrastructure John Baird, federal Minister of Defence Peter MacKay and HRM Mayor Peter Kelly. “I am pleased that this government continues to fulfill the commitments we made to Nova Scotians to maximize federal infrastructure spending,” said Premier Dexter. “Today’s announcement is providing much-needed infrastructure improvements, employing Nova Scotians, creating economic growth and making life better for people from across this province.” The funding for sewer-system improvements and road initiatives will be provided under the Provincial-Territorial Base Fund. Both governments have agreed to work together to ensure that these funds are delivered quickly and efficiently so construction can begin as soon as possible. “The federal government recognizes that libraries are important public spaces and learning centres,” said Mr. Baird. “We are proud of these investments, which are on top of the $14 million we committed for Halifax and Cape Breton just last month.” “Building infrastructure is critical to the economy of Nova Scotia,” said Mr. Estabrooks. “These projects translate into more jobs, steady employment and better infrastructure to support local business and industries.” The sewer-system upgrades will improve the quality of sewage treatment, while the road initiatives will upgrade road conditions and increase road safety for drivers. The province will include these on its annual capital plan for the $25 million per year provided by the government of Canada for core infrastructure priorities in Nova Scotia. The total estimated cost of these improvements is $37.1 million. “As the regional minister for Nova Scotia, I am proud to be a part of these infrastructure investments that generate economic and employment opportunities across the province,” said Mr. MacKay. “These initiatives are important to Nova Scotians, creating various benefits that they can enjoy for years to come.” The Halifax Central Library, intended to replace the current Spring Garden Road Memorial Library, will serve as a resource centre for HRM residents, help drive the economic revitalization of the downtown area and be a new attraction for visiting tourists. The 109,000-square-foot facility will include a larger book collection, additional meeting and study rooms, a 250-seat auditorium and technology areas for computers. Canada is setting aside up to one-third of total eligible costs for this project, to a maximum federal contribution of $18.3 million from the Major Infrastructure Component of the Building Canada Fund. Nova Scotia would provide $13 million and HRM would contribute $23.7 million toward the project, which has a total estimated coat of $55 million. Federal funding would be conditional on the project meeting all requirements under the fund and the signing of a contribution agreement with the province. Beyond today’s funding announcement, the government of Canada is taking important steps to support economic growth. Canada’s Economic Action Plan is accelerating and expanding the existing federal investment of $33 billion in infrastructure across Canada with almost $12 billion in new infrastructure stimulus funding over the next two years.
TORONTO — The Toronto stock market closed little changed Wednesday as the latest economic snapshot from the U.S. Federal Reserve encouraged hopes for more stimulus from the central bank, even as the report showed a steadily improving economy.Here are the closing numbersTSX — 12,009.79 -0.11 0.00%S&P 500 — 1,410.49 +1.19 0.08%Dow — 13,107.48 +4.49 0.03%Nasdaq — 3,081.19 +4.05 0.13%The S&P/TSX composite index slipped 0.11 of a point to 12,009.79, after the latest regional survey by the Fed said the pace of economic growth is expanding. It also pointed to rising retail sales and loan demand, while housing markets are showing signs of improvement across most areas.On the negative side, the Fed’s so-called Beige Book noted that the worst drought in decades is impacting farm output in the Midwest and there was some general softening in the manufacturing area because of weak growth in Europe and Asia.“Add it all up, and the Fed districts were not particularly cheery about what they were hearing on the ground as they compiled this report, with the tone still consistent with the Fed delivering additional stimulus before year end,” said CIBC World Markets chief economist Avery Shenfeld.The TSX Venture Exchange was off 12.72 points to 1,229.16.The Canadian dollar was down 0.18 of a cent at 101.06 US cents amid lower prices for oil and metals.New York indexes were listless while traders also took in data showing greater than expected U.S. economic growth and a steadily improving American housing sector.The Dow Jones industrial average was 4.49 points higher at 13,107.48.The Nasdaq composite index was ahead 4.05 points at 3,081.19, and the S&P 500 index rose 1.19 points at 1,410.49.Other data showed that the second estimate of second-quarter gross domestic product suggested the U.S. economy grew at an annualized rate of 1.7%, up from the original reading of 1.5%.Another report said Americans signed the most contracts to buy homes in July than at any other point in the last two years. The National Association of Realtors’ index of sales agreements for previously occupied homes jumped 2.4% in July to 101.7.Traders have high hopes pinned on a speech Friday morning by central bank chairman Ben Bernanke.Expectations for another round of economic stimulus have risen over the past couple of weeks after the minutes from the Fed’s last interest rate meeting Aug. 1 showed more members wanting to see the central bank take more action to revive the economy.And then, last Friday, the Wall Street Journal reported that Bernanke had written a Republican lawmaker to say there is more the Fed could do to help the economy.Still, there are doubts Bernanke would commit to more stimulus ahead of important data next week, including the latest snapshot of the manufacturing sector and the August non-farm payrolls report at the end of the week. Also, traders hope the European Central Bank will unveil measures on Sept. 6 to lower borrowing costs for the most troubled eurozone countries, such as Spain. The Fed holds its next interest rate announcement Sept. 13.“I think what the ECB does or doesn’t do is much more important because Europe is much more pivotal right now,” said John Johnston, chief strategist at Davis Rea Ltd.“But the Fed’s basically going to do more — it’s just a matter of time.”The base metals sector eased 1% as copper prices declined for a fourth session with September copper dropping two cents to US$3.44 a pound. Capstone Mining shed eight cents to C$2.42 and First Quantum Minerals was down 43 cents to $18.49.Oil price declines accelerated amid data showing a big increase in U.S. crude supplies last week. The Energy Information Administration reported an increase of 3.8 million barrels in crude stockpiles versus an expected decrease of two million barrels. The EIA also reported gasoline inventories down 1.5 million in the week, less than the two million barrels that had been forecast.The October crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange was down 84 cents to US$95.49 a barrel.The energy sector pulled back 0.7% and Cenovus Energy shed 37 cents to C$32.24 and Suncor Energy fell 36 cents to C$31.10.The gold sector was off about 1% as bullion fell $6.70 to US$1,663 an ounce. Barrick Gold Corp. lost 59 cents to C$36.72.The telecom sector led advancers as Telus Corp. climbed 86 cents to $64.70.The financial sector was also positive a day after Bank of Montreal and Scotiabank delivered quarterly earnings reports which beat expectations. Royal Bank, CIBC, TD Bank, National Bank post earnings results Thursday. Royal Bank was ahead 43 cents to $54.60 and National Bank gained $1.28 to $75.93.After markets closed, Scotiabank says it has reached an agreement to buy ING Bank of Canada from Netherlands-based parent ING Group for $3.13-billion in cash. The deal is expected to result in a net investment by Scotiabank of $1.9-billion, after deducting the excess capital currently at ING Direct.Here’s the news investors were watching today:Scotiabank to buy ING Bank of Canada for $3.1-billion in cashManulife Financial buys Wellington West from National BankCanadian home prices hit new high, but pace slowingSamsung aims to bounce back with Galaxy Note 2Canada formally reviewing CNOOC’s Nexen bidON DECK THURSDAYECONOMIC NEWSCANADA8:30 a.m.Current account balance (Q2): Economists expect a deficit of $15.3-billion Survey of Employment, payrolls and earnings (June) UNITED STATES8:30 a.m.Weekly jobless claims: Economists expect 370,000 new claims Personal income and consumption (July): Economists expect 0.3% rise in income, 0.5% gain in spending Chain store sales CORPORATE NEWSCANADARoyal Bank Q3 earnings: Analysts expect $1.18 a share TD Bank Q3 earnings: Analysts expect $1.84 CIBC Q3 earnings: Analysts expect $1.96 National Bank Q3 earnings: Analysts expect $1.90 Canadian Western Bank Q3 earnings: Analysts expect 57¢ UNITED STATESSAIC Inc. Q2 earnings: Analyst expect 33¢ a share