The federal and provincial governments have rolled out a red
carpet of funding in the Sea to Sky region.
West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky MP John Weston joined
West Vancouver-Garibaldi MLA Joan McIntyre in Whistler Thursday morning to
announce a total $1 million of funding that’s coming to the Resort Municipality
First up, Weston presented a giant cheque with $375,000 in
funding to be put towards completing the Valley Trial between Spring Creek and
Function Junction, money that both governments hope will encourage people to
leave their cars at home.
“It will encourage residents to walk or cycle, something that’s
very close to my heart,” Weston said. “I’d like to underline that this is
certainly not John Weston’s money, it’s certainly not Joan McIntyre’s money,
it’s not the government’s money, it’s Canadians’ money. We are only stewards
for sacred trust and I am delighted that this is going to such a good cause.”
The Valley Trail currently extends from Emerald Estates to
Spring Creek, just outside the elementary school in that neighbourhood.
Extending the trail past Spring Creek will link the Whistler Village with
Cheakamus Crossing and the Sea to Sky Trail, according to a news release.
The money is coming out of Towns for Tomorrow, a five-year, $71
million program announced by Premier Gordon Campbell in 2006 to assist smaller
communities and regional districts with infrastructure projects. It has a maximum
provincial contribution of $400,000 for a given project.
Next up, McIntyre announced $678,821 for the RMOW out of B.C.’s
Strategic Community Investment Fund, a program that seeks to get money to
communities quicker, in order to give them “greater certainty and improved
financial flexibility,” according to a news release.
The money includes $442,573 in Small Community Grant Funding to
help Whistler provide basic services and $236,248 from the Traffic Fine Revenue
Sharing program to help with policing and community-based safety programs.
“The premier announced at UBCM several years ago that we would
be returning all traffic fine dollars to the municipalities,” McIntyre said.
“So it’s sort of not a good thing because it’s traffic fines but on the other hand,
it does come back to your communities.”
She added that the community grant funding was just a first
installment, and that another would come through for the municipality in July
and again in July of 2010.
“We just wanted to make sure that those funds are coming in and
you can use them for your planning purposes,” she said. “They’re funds that we
pledged a couple of years ago to double because we know that in smaller
communities in particular, with smaller tax bases, have big infrastructure
Also announced at Thursday’s event was an Infrastructure
Planning Grant of $7,500 to help Whistler study rainwater capture and reuse for
all of Whistler’s municipal buildings. This fund helps municipalities design
and develop sustainable infrastructure.
Other “green” funds included $10,337 from the province’s
Climate Action Revenue Incentive Program, which provides local governments with
funds to offset the carbon taxes they pay for fossil fuel purchases.
“I think it was just this UBCM, the premier pledged to return
all the monies that municipalities pay in the carbon levy,” McIntyre said. “So
we can prove to municipalities that it’s totally revenue neutral.”
Other funding announced Thursday included $10,000 to go to the
Rotary Club of Whistler to help build a playground at the Head of the Lake
School in Skatin, a community in In-SHUCK-ch Nation territory.
The Rotary Club of Whistler has long been a supporter of the
Head of the Lake School, helping it establish a library, computer laboratory
and other amenities over the past decade. The club expects to build the
playground starting in June or July with the help of volunteers, according to
president David Oakes.
“If it was done professionally it would take about two days,” he said. “Done with volunteers, unknown, I’m guessing about eight days, maybe four weekends or something like that. It’s quite a haul up there.”