$2.6 Million in Federal Funding for North Okanagan to Benefit the Environment

    VERNON, BC, Aug. 8 /CNW Telbec/ - Colin Mayes, MP for Okanagan - Shuswap
on behalf of the Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Transport,
Infrastructure and Communities, together with Honourable Tom Christensen,
Minister for Children and Family Development and MLA for Okanagan-Vernon on
behalf of Honourable Ida Chong, Minister of Community Services, Jerry Oglow,
Chair of the Regional District of North Okanagan (NORD) and Brenda Binnie,
President of the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) today
announced the approval of almost $2.6 million from the federal Gas Tax Fund to
provide upgrades to solid waste infrastructure and a new planning process to
manage growth and transportation in the North Okanagan region.
    The projects to be funded include a new regional yard waste composting
facility, a residential drop-off facility at the Greater Vernon Landfill, and
a new regional growth strategy and transportation model for the North
Okanagan. Funding for the projects is provided through the Gas Tax Agreement,
which transfers federal gas tax revenue to local government infrastructure
improvements that that result in cleaner air, cleaner water and reduced
greenhouse gas emissions.
    "Canada's New Government is proud to partner with the Province of British
Columbia and UBCM to provide funding that will help areas such as the North
Okanagan Regional District meet their infrastructure needs and contribute to
the health of the environment." said MP Mayes.
    The regional growth strategy will benefit the North Okanagan by
incorporating integrated sustainability policies and regulations into NORD
land use policies. The growth strategy will also integrate the inter-regional
transportation model to provide a comprehensive transportation plan for
sustainable development in the North and Central Okanagan regions.
    "We know that local government decisions can influence as much as half of
all greenhouse gases generated in the province," said Minister Christensen.
"That's why it is so important that we support projects like these, helping to
make our communities greener, healthier and more environmentally sustainable."
    It is anticipated that the diversion of solid waste from the landfills
will lead to the reduction of greenhouse gases. The waste composting facility
alone is expected to divert more than 11,000 tonnes of waste per year.
    "Today's announcement is clearly a major step that now allows the North
Okanagan Regional District to take a lead role in managing issues of growth by
balancing economic, social and environmental solutions," said Chair Oglow.
    The Gas Tax Fund Agreement is a joint partnership between Canada, BC and
the Union of BC Municipalities that delivers $635 million for green
infrastructure investments and local government capacity building by 2010.
    "The Gas Tax Fund is a wonderful example of partnership between the
province, Canada and local governments in B.C.," said President Binnie. "The
federal funding that is being transferred to the NORD will benefit all the
communities in the region."
    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
    Please visit www.infrastructure.gc.ca or www.civicnet.bc.ca for
additional information on the Canada - BC - UBCM Gas Tax Agreement.

For further information:

For further information: Natalie Sarafian, Press Secretary to the
Honourable Lawrence Cannon, (613) 991-0700; Anne McKinnon, Communications
Director, Ministry of Community Services, (250) 953-3677; Infrastructure
Canada, (613) 948-1148; 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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