Improved Water Treatment in Greater Vernon Thanks to Federal and Provincial Funding



    VERNON, BC, Oct. 5 /CNW Telbec/ - Residents in the Greater Vernon region
will see improvements to their water system thanks to nearly $14 million from
the federal and provincial governments for the construction of a new treatment
plant on Duteau Creek.
    The announcement was made today by Colin Mayes, Member of Parliament for
Okanagan - Shuswap, on behalf of the Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of
Transport, Infrastructure and Communities and the Honourable Rona Ambrose,
Minister of Western Economic Diversification, together with Tom Christensen,
Minister of Children and Family Development and MLA for Okanagan-Vernon.
Mr. Mayes and Mr. Christensen were joined by Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM)
Third Vice-President Mayor Terry Lake and North Okanagan Regional District
(NORD) Chair Jerry Oglow.
    "Canada's New Government is committed to the health of families and
strong, prosperous communities through infrastructure projects that support a
cleaner environment and a stronger, better country," said Mr. Mayes.
"Improvements to Vernon's water treatment facility will benefit not only
today's residents, but also generations to come."
    The project will receive close to $10.5 million through the federal Gas
Tax Fund, and more than $3.3 million through the Canada-British Columbia
Municipal Rural Infrastructure Fund (CBCMRIF). The North Okanagan Regional
District is contributing $6.1 million. The funds will pay for a new water
treatment building and a water reservoir, including water clarification and
chlorine disinfection systems. Under CBCMRIF, this project is conditionally
approved pending the completion of an environmental assessment.
    "Clean, safe drinking water is vital to the health of British Columbia
communities and improving the quality of life of residents," said
Minister Christensen. "Residents in the Greater Vernon area will definitely
benefit from this substantial investment to their water system, the result of
partnerships between all levels of government."
    "This major infrastructure grant announcement will not only directly
contribute to the long-term economic health of our Greater Vernon communities
but will indirectly benefit the broader North Okanagan Region who tends to
mirror the successes of our largest neighbour," said Jerry Oglow, NORD Chair
and Armstrong Mayor.
    "One of the most basic services that local governments can provide is
clean, accessible drinking water," said Third Vice-President Lake. "UBCM
applauds the partnership between Canada, BC and the NORD in undertaking this
significant capital project."
    Canada's New Government is providing $635.6 million to British Columbia
from 2005 to 2010 through the Gas Tax Agreement. As part of its $33 billion
"Building Canada" plan, the Government of Canada extended the Gas Tax Fund by
an additional $2 billion per year nationally, from 2010 to 2014. The Gas Tax
Agreement is administered in British Columbia by the Union of BC
Municipalities.
    Under the initial CBCMRIF Agreement signed in June 2006, the federal and
provincial governments each committed $51 million to the fund, with
participating local governments expected to make up the remaining costs. This
year, Canada's New Government and the Province of B.C. have each provided an
additional $23.5 million to the Canada-B.C. Municipal Rural Infrastructure
Fund as part of their commitment to help smaller communities meet their
pressing infrastructure needs. This additional funding brings the total
federal and provincial investment and matching local government contribution
in CBCMRIF projects to over $220 million.

    Please visit www.infrastructure.gc.ca or www.civicnet.bc.ca for
background information on the Canada - BC - UBCM Gas Tax Agreement.

    Information on the Canada - BC Municipal Rural Infrastructure Program is
available at www.canadabcmrif.ca




For further information:

For further information: Karine White, Press Secretary, Office of the
Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, (613) 991-0700;
Infrastructure Canada, (613) 948-1148; Karl Yeh, Communications Advisory,
Western Economic Diversification Canada, (604) 666-4714; Marc Black,
Communications Manager, Ministry of Community Services, (250) 356-6334; Paul
Taylor, Relationships and Communications Advisor, Union of BC Municipalities,
(250) 356-2938; Brian Reardon, Administrator, North Okanagan Regional
District, (250) 550-3700


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