Over the next five year Prince George will receive $8.165-million in gas tax funds, as part of the New Deal for Cities and Communities launched by the federal government.
After an April 15, 2005 agreement signing by Prime Minister Paul Martin, Premier Gordon Campbell, and president of the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) Aaron Dinwoodie, the Government of Canada is investing more than $635-million in gas tax funding over five years for the benefit of B.C. cities and communities.
“This gas tax is going to come in real handy,” said Prince George Mayor Colin Kinsley. “Over five years the city will receive over eight million – with the first year seeing $162,000. The earlier years will be less money – but we’ll see that grow.”
The New Deal is to mark a new relationship between all three orders of government and strengthen a partnership among citizens and their communities.
Funds from gas taxes will be used to support environmentally based projects and provide a framework for long-term vision to promote the sustainability of Canada’s cities and communities.
“We’re going to use the money for a variety of prominent projects,” said Kinsley. “Such as the city’s contribution for the Northern Sport Centre and the Cameron Street Bridge – it’s really wide-open. But it will be used for capital infrastructure.”
The agreement is built on six principles: respect for jurisdiction, flexibility, equity, transparency, focus on long-term solutions, and regular reporting to Canadians. The parties have agreed to establish committees to maximize the effectiveness of this partnership and to ensure that there is accountability for projects and money spent.
However B.C. communities will have to wait until the budget has passed before they see the annual checks come in.
“When the government is done with it (budget) then we’ll see the funds,” said Kinsley. “But this is great news for Prince George.”