New funding for drinking water

Provincial government politicians like to announce good news at the annual Union of B.C. Municipalities convention and it looks like this year will be no exception.

Minister Coralee Oakes at UBCM.

Minister Coralee Oakes at UBCM.

Community, Sport and Cultural Development Minister Coralee Oakes told about 1,200 delegates at the Whistler convention today (Wednesday, Sept. 24) more than $327 million will be provided to communities of less than 100,000 population over the next 10 years under the Small Communities Fund, which is part of the New Building Canada Plan.

The program, like previous infrastructure programs, involves three-way cost-sharing among the provincial, federal and local governments. This particular release will include a strong focus on drinking water, wastewater and other green infrastructure projects, Oakes said.

That could be of particular interest to communities in TNRD Area P that are dealing with drinking water issues, for example. The fund will be launched and open for applications by the end of October.

Oakes’ other announcements are also of interest. A new asset management fund administered by the UBCM will allow local governments to apply for support in planning new infrastructure such as roads and water systems.

As well, she said a committee will look at setting expense limits in local government elections. The idea originates with a joint task force that included the UBCM and government. It’s initial report resulted in extending the terms for civic representatives from three to four years.

And, a pilot program will fund a youth event in Victoria focused on democracy and citizen engagement.



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