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General News · 9th April 2012
Wendy Legare
PS #11 - OCP DRAFT #3 and FEDERAL GAS TAX FUNDING
by Wendy Legare

PLEASE read the new Cortes Island OCP DRAFT #3. I refer here to some of the sections related to the Federal Gas Tax Fund allotted to Cortes Island with it's latest census pop. 1007 residents, and less than 500 year-round residents.

HISTORY/BACKGROUND FACTORS- The Governments of Canada, BC, and the Union of BCMunicipalities (UBCM) entered into the Gas Tax agreement on September 19,2005. The agreement is focused on achieving three environmental sustainablility outcomes: reduced greenhouse gas emissions, cleaner water and cleaner air. The agreement provides for funding through three delivery mechanisms: a Strategic Priorities Fund(SPF), and Innovations Fund (IF) and a Community Works Fund (CWF).
The Community Works Fund program is intended to support local priorities that are in alignment with the desired outcomes of reduced greenhouse gas emissions, cleaner air, and cleaner water. It provides funding directly to eligible local governments, without the need to apply for funding, and when received semi-annually from UBCM, are allocated based on a population-based formula. Eligible projects are capital project categories such as public transit, community energy systems, water and wastewater and solid waste management. Liquid waste management plans and the Black Creek/Oyster Bay water treatment projects are examples of projects that are eligible to be funded by CWF.(The latter Area D has a population 5,000+).

ALTERNATIVES:-SRD may choose to allocate all or part of the community works fund for eligible capital projects within the electoral areas or alternatively combine funds to undertake sub-regional or regional initiatives.

LEGAL IMPLICATIONS:-SRD MUST RETAIN OWNERSHIP OF ANY RESULTING INFRASTRUCTURE FUNDED FROM COMMUNITY WORKS FUND FOR AT LEAST 10 YEARS AFTER THE PROJECT IS COMPLETE. UBCM will require repayment of a proportional amount, if ownership is for a lesser period of time.
(SRD Staff Report May 28,2009).

Following this report a call went out by Director N.Anderson looking for 'advisors' on how to spend Cortes allotted approx.$250,000.00 in Gas Tax Funds.
from -REGIONAL DIRECTOR'S REPORT(Fall 2009)
Cortes Climate Action Team Formed
Last month, I reported the availability of Federal gas tax funds for Cortes climate change initiatives and put out a call to those interested in forming a small working group to advise on how to best spend those funds.
We now have a volunteer team! Bill Andrews, Mark Lombard, Norberto Rodriguez de la Vega, Shane Nelson and Carrie Saxifrage are conducting a high level green house gas emissions inventory for Cortes that will be ready for community feedback next month. Next, they will make recommendations to me and the Regional District as to how to best prioritize the use of these funds. If you have input, please send it to climateaction(at)cortesisland.com or contact team members directly.

ps - What has never been explained to residents is this - after the allotted Gas Tax Funds have been spent - ostensibly on consultants, studies, initial stages of future developments - property owners will be responsible for paying for the expenses incurred by the projects. If you have read the CLIMATE CHANGE section of the new Draft #3,and pp61-63 IMPLEMENTATION, a few Gas Tax funded plans are mentioned and ready for the drawing board. e.g. " Develop a comprehensive Transportation Demand Management Strategy and a comprehensive long term implementation plan; encourage the creation of a neighbourhood energy utility using alternative energy".
It all brings to mind the draft's mention of "efficient use of taxation resources". I don't imagine the average Cortes property owner can afford to support any of these projects when the funding runs out. Are we looking to spend the funds just because they're there? Have needful situations been concocted where there is no need? Are we talking champagne taste on a beer budget? Someone mentioned at a previous draft meeting that Cortes has the carbon footprint of a gnat! And I agree. Think about these things as you wade through the draft.
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