The Union of BC Municipalities has sent a letter to all members to notify them of the 2012 application intake for the Gas Tax General Strategic Priorities Fund and the Innovations Fund. Funding available from these programs collectively is $52.3 million.
Each municipality can apply for two capital projects and two planning projects that improve community sustainability planning such as public transit, roads, bridges, energy, water, wastewater or solid waste infrastructure that aid in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions to provide cleaner air and water.
An application has been submitted by the Town of Lake Cowichan but we still have to show that there is some green attributes on our application. Discussions at the table during the Town’s meeting on Tuesday, Mar.6, included improvement of water quality by 2015, improving the water line on Greendale, and the utilization of water modelling to improve some areas.
Lake Cowichan has applied for 100 per cent of the funding available to municipalities but has been told our application would be better received if we were willing to pay for a portion of a green project. The concern amongst members of council is that we cannot afford to complete a project on our own, hence the submission of an application for funds.
A waste treatment plant is a project considered as a necessity by the Town.
“We already have the funding for the treatment plant [next year],” says Joe Fernandez, “This project needs to happen.”
There is a possibility to include Areas I and F in the plans for the treatment plant. Tim McGonigle, councillor states: “We need to identify possible rural areas for our sludge that would benefit.”
The systems used in the past in Lake Cowichan have been okay, but they are now proving to be outdated and not very green. “We don’t want to get caught up in building bigger systems for more waste,” says Bob Day, councillor. “We need to reduce first.”
An ongoing item on the agenda that may support this application is the possible implementation of organic, garbage and recycling collection for Cowichan Lake. There are also other options to re-use some of our sludge to increase the treatment plant project in order to appease some portion of the grant process.
Town council will continue to aim towards a greener, more sustainable community. The deadline for applications for the UBCM grant is May 31. It will be after that time that they will be informed formally of their application status.