Opinion

Cannan: Infrastructure funding for the District of Lake Country

As part of the New Building Canada Plan, the renewed federal Gas Tax Fund (GTF) is an important avenue of funding to help municipalities build and revitalize their local public infrastructure, contributing to job creation and economic growth.

On July 17, Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, Lake Country Mayor James Baker, director of community services for the District of Lake Country Mark Koch, Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) president Rhona Martin, and I announced that the District of Lake Country has received $250,000 in Gas Tax funds to support the District’s adoption of an Integrated Community Sustainability Plan (ICSP).

In consultation with local residents, the newly adopted ICSP sets a direction for Lake Country to become a healthy, sustainable community that attracts and retains residents, businesses and visitors and will influence future infrastructure investment, zoning, economic development and environmental protection within the District. Since 2006, the District of Lake Country has received $7,387,891 under the federal Gas Tax Fund.

The federal GTF program was originally designed to provide municipalities with $5 billion in predictable funding over five years. However, our government has made significant improvements to the GTF. It has been extended, doubled from $1 billion to $2 billion annually, and legislated as a permanent source of federal infrastructure funding for municipalities. As announced in Economic Action Plan 2013, the renewed federal GTF is being indexed at two per cent per year,  which means that it will grow by $1.8 billion over the next decade.

Additionally, as of April 1, 2014, communities will be able to use the renewed GTF towards a wider range of projects, which means they will have even more flexibility in the types of projects they fund.

To date, $13 billion has been invested in Canadian municipalities through the federal Gas Tax Fund, with close to $22 billion to flow over the next 10 years.

Anyone who wishes to learn more about the Gas Tax Fund or Canada’s New Building Canada Plan can go to www.infrastructure.gc.ca .

 

Support for Clean Technology in British Columbia

On July 14, our government announced an investment of over $4.1 million under the ecoENERGY Innovation Initiative (ecoEII) for an innovative clean energy project in British Columbia.

The British Columbia Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Project supports a shift toward the use of clean energy and electric vehicles in B.C.’s transportation sector by expanding the necessary infrastructure.

The project will support the installation of approximately 300 charging stations for public use in urban areas across the province and 30 fast-charging stations along major transportation corridors. The project also includes the implementation of a data network, which will centrally collect charging data.

Through ecoEII, the government is providing $268.2 million over five years to support research, development and demonstration projects that produce and use energy in a more clean and efficient manner.

The clean technology sector is an important economic driver for the Canadian economy. The sector employs more than 52,000 Canadians in over 700 companies in all regions of the country — part of a global supply chain estimated to be worth $10.6 billion.

Since 2006, our government has taken action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and build a more sustainable environment by investing more than $10 billion in green infrastructure, energy efficiency, clean energy technologies and the production of cleaner energy and cleaner fuels.

More information on what your government is doing to support sustainable energy and technology can be found at the Natural Resources Canada website at www.nrcan.gc.ca.

 

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