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fernieflash

Gas tax funds flowing back into regionPosted: January 28, 2012

Two East Kootenay municipalities are getting slices of the $3.7 million federal Gas Tax Fund pie, it was announced late last week.

The Village of Radium Hot Springs ($166,000) and the City of Fernie ($125,000) learned their applications for funding under the Gas Tax Agreement’s General Strategic Priorities or Innovations Fund. A total of 22 B.C. municipalities and regional districts received funds from the $3.7 million program.

“The City of Fernie’s application was for a comprehensive update of its Official Community Plan (OCP) that would integrate and align the Forever Fernie Integrated Community Sustainability Plan’s sustainability vision and directions into the OCP. The OCP update will also include the development of an economic development strategy, a review of housing needs and alignment of the OCP with other key land use policy documents. The process is expected to commence later this year and will include broad and inclusive collaboration and engagement of the community and other stakeholders,” explained Fernie chief administrative officer Allan Chabot.

“Our government is proud to deliver permanent annual infrastructure funding for municipalities through Canada’s Gas Tax Fund,” said the Honourable Denis Lebel, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities. “Investing in local infrastructure creates local jobs and economic growth, and the Gas Tax Fund delivers stable, predictable funding that provides communities with flexibility to choose their own infrastructurepriorities. By providing greater certainty for long-term planning and local infrastructure renewal, the Gas Tax Fund is helping to strengthen communities across British Columbia and lay the foundation for a bright and prosperous future in Canada.”

The projects supported through this funding will address a broad range of strategic priorities, including growth management, community energy planning, and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, a government press release explained.

“Local governments across B.C. have a strong foundation in planning, and this component of the Gas Tax Fund provides the opportunity to advance sustainability as it pertains to environmental, cultural, social and economic dimensions,” said Ida Chong, Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development.

Canada’s Gas Tax Fund provides stable, long-term funding to local governments and other organizations to help them build and revitalize public infrastructure. This Infrastructure Canada program primarily supports capital projects such as local roads, public transit, energy systems and waste management infrastructure that lead to cleaner air, cleaner water or reduced greenhouse gas emissions. The Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) administers the Gas Tax Fund in BC in collaboration with Canada and British Columbia. On December 15, 2011, the Government of Canada passed legislation to make the Gas Tax Fund a permanent annual investment of $2 billion.

“There have been significant advancements to sustainable planning practices in recent years,” said Heath Slee, UBCM President and Regional District of East Kootenay Electoral Area B director. “The Gas Tax Fund is helping communities to take advantage of these improved tools as they design the communities in which we live.”

For further information on the Government of Canada’s infrastructure investments in British Columbia, visit www.infrastructure.gc.ca. To learn more about Canadaʼs Economic Action Plan, visit www.actionplan.gc.ca.

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