I made a recommendation for the expenditure at Thursday’s (Dec. 10, 2015) TNRD board meeting, and it was unanimously approved.
Upgrading to LED components will achieve operational cost savings in Hydro consumption, and repairs to unexpected underground leaks in the aging system will save on water consumption. The repairs will also reduce the possibility of contamination in the system
Under the 2014 Federal Gas Tax agreement, infrastructure that generates or increases the efficient use of energy is eligible for funding. Water conservation and Improvements in distribution systems are also eligible.
Federal gas tax funding is allocated to local governments, and expenditures are monitored by the Union of B.C. Municipalities. In the TNRD, the funding is assigned to each electoral area based on population — the electoral area directors then make recommendations to the board for its use.
At the previous board meeting, the board approved my motion to commute two “loans” from Area P gas tax funding to the status of “transfers”— one for $30,000 to Area A for Vavenby water UV treatment, and one for $20,000 to Area B for Blue River water UV treatment.
Electoral areas with small populations sometimes struggle to find funding for such projects, and commuting these earlier “loans” now frees up those two EAs to use those amounts for other deserving projects rather than having to worry about repaying Area P. I believe we have to think in terms of the needs of the regional district as a whole, in addition to each area.
As an example, at Thursday’s meeting, the board approved a request from Area A Director Carol Schaffer to spend $16,000 in federal gas tax funding for a wet well upgrade and replacement of pumps, leaking valves and service lines for the Vavenby Community Water System. Forgiving the loan from Area P made that commitment much easier.
And, at the same meeting, Area B Director Willow Macdonald gave notice she wants to see $39,855 of gas tax funding designated for her area to go towards improvements to the Blue River water system. Again, without having to worry about owing money to Area P, that project becomes more viable, and everybody wins.