Returns from the federal Gas Tax Fund have made a large impact on municipalities in British Columbia. Combined, East Kootenay, Nanaimo, Nelson, North Cowichan, and Squamish will receive nearly $20 million for water-related projects.
Both the City of Nelson and the Regional District of East Kootenay will receive $6 million. While East Kootenay will put the funds towards its Windermere Water Project, Nelson will fund its Water Master Plan Supplementary Sources Project. Nelson’s project will allow it to funnel all of its existing water sources to the Mountain Station Reservoir where all residential water will receive ultra violet (UV) treatment. In addition to providing UV treatment to all of the city’s water, the project will act as a building block towards securing back-up water sources in the near future.
“Councils, past and present, continue to make infrastructure renewal a high priority. Our investment in sound planning played a major role in obtaining this substantial federal grant which will keep us on track with upgrades to our water infrastructure,” said Nelson Mayor Deb Kozak. “In addition, this Council has committed additional funding toward road repair and facilities renewal.”
The District of Squamish and the City of Nanaimo will receive $3.9 million and $3.8 million, respectively. Squamish will use the money to fund upgrades to 1.2 kilometres of the Squamish River dike at the Upper Judd Slough. This was identified as the highest priority in Squamish’s Integrated Flood Hazard Management Plan. “This is a huge win for the Squamish community,” said District of Squamish Mayor Patricia Heintzman. “We are achieving this by investing in our flood protection infrastructure and reducing our vulnerability to flooding.”
Nanaimo will invest its money to improve community access along its waterfront with the Waterfront Walkway Project.
North Cowichan has been granted $112,500 to further its asset management program, which include work on planning for core assets, such as water, wastewater, and drainage work, in developing a condition assessment framework and an asset management strategy.
“Communities across BC are looking for funding to replace, upgrade, and expand local infrastructure. The federal Gas Tax Fund is accelerating the pace of infrastructure renewal through the transfer of close to $3 billion since 2005 for projects in our province,” said Wendy Booth, president, Union of BC Municipalities.
In total, nearly $193 million in spending from the Gas Tax Fund has been conditionally approved for 108 projects in British Columbia. The full list of projects is available online.