Fort St. John Benefits from Sustainable Neighbourhood Initiative Through Federal Gas Tax Fund



    FORT ST. JOHN, BC, Nov. 7 /CNW Telbec/ - The City of Fort St. John will
undertake an innovative sustainable neighbourhood initiative with $135,000
from the federal Gas Tax Fund. Member of Parliament for Prince George-Peace
River, Jay Hill, on behalf of the Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of
Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, made the announcement, together
with Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) President Susan Gimse, and Mayor of
Fort St. John, Jim Eglinski, in Fort St. John today.
    The funding will be used to support the development of a Leadership in
Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified neighbourhood. The project
will result in a neighbourhood plan and a set of design criteria for a large
parcel of land owned by the city and will incorporate design strategies that
could benefit other cold climate Canadian cities.
    "The Government of Canada is moving forward on its commitment to support
the environment," said MP Hill. "Through our partnership with the Province of
British Columbia and the UBCM, we are promoting initiatives that will improve
the health and well-being of communities and the environment."
    The objective of funding for capacity building and integrated community
sustainability planning (ICSP) is to improve the environmental, economic,
social and cultural sustainability of British Columbia's communities.
Applications for capacity building and ICS funding are evaluated on the basis
of four key sustainability elements:

    
    - Long-term thinking (to consider how factors vital to a community's
      well-being may change in coming decades)
    - Broad in Scope (to examine sustainability issues in a range of social,
      economic, environmental and cultural areas)
    - Integration with existing local government plans, and
    - Collaboration (by engaging a wide range of community members, other
      local governments, First Nations, as well as partners in the for profit
      and not for profit sectors).
    

    These four elements provide a "sustainability lens" for local governments
to review all of its plans and planning activities. Last month, $1.9 million
was transferred to nine British Columbia projects to support local
governments' planning efforts.
    "The City of Fort St. John has a long history of undertaking initiatives
that support sustainability in the community," said Mayor Jim Eglinski.
"Progressive initiatives, such as the sustainable neighbourhood project, will
help to ensure our City maintains its ranking of one of the top communities to
live and work in throughout Canada."
    "This planning grant for Fort St. John is possible because of a strong
partnership between governments," said Richard Neufeld, MLA for Peace River
North. "We know that local governments can achieve great things when they have
the financial support to examine the best options for their future."
    "All local governments are adapting to changes in our climate, our
economy and local demographics," said President Gimse. "Funding to build local
government capacity and undertake ICS planning will produce long-term benefits
for BC communities."
    Yesterday, the Government of Canada and British Columbia signed a
Framework Agreement, under Building Canada, the government's new long-term
infrastructure plan. Under the Agreement, over $1 billion has been set aside
for projects in British Columbia through the Building Canada Fund component of
the plan. The Framework Agreement also confirms that the Province of British
Columbia will receive $25 million base funding annually, for a total of
$175 million through to 2014. Just under $1.5 billion will flow to British
Columbia municipalities through the Gas Tax Fund between 2007 and 2014.
Overall, the total federal commitment to British Columbia is $2.7 billion over
seven years under Building Canada.
    Gas Tax funding is available to local governments for projects that
contribute to environmental sustainability, and in particular, infrastructure
projects that lead to cleaner air, cleaner water or the reduction of
greenhouse gas emissions. The Gas Tax Fund is administered in BC by UBCM.
    For more information on the Canada - BC - UBCM Gas Tax Agreement, visit
www.civicnet.bc.ca or www.infc.gc.ca




For further information:

For further information: Media Contacts: Karine White, Press Secretary,
Office of the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure And Communities, (613)
991-0700; Paul Taylor, Relationships and Communications Advisor, Union of BC
Municipalities, (250) 356-2938; Sarah Tittemore, Director of Marketing and
Communications, City of Fort St. John, (250) 787-8150


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