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The Province of British Columbia will receive $635.6 million in Gas Tax Funds through 2010. Seventy-nine percent of the province's funding through 2007 was invested in public transit, mainly in the Greater Vancouver Regional District where the GTF will contribute $139 million toward the purchase of 199 more efficient buses. A significant number of projects also invested in water/wastewater systems, active transportation and community energy systems. In addition, the Province established an Innovations Fund worth five percent of the province's total allocation for projects developing new approaches for achieving environmental outcomes.
Innovating to Reduce Greenhouse Gases
The Sunshine Coast Regional District converts landfill gas to electricity. The City of Kamloops will use its GTF dollars for city-wide recycling. In Vancouver, the city is buying more articulated and clean-diesel buses, and replacing less efficient older buses in the fleet. All projects work to support the federal and provincial objective of reducing greenhouse gases.
The project to convert landfill gas to electricity for the Sechelt Landfill involves the construction of gas extraction and collection infrastructure as well as instrumentation to monitor flow rates and processing efficiency. The resulting electricity will be fed into the BC Hydro grid. The Sunshine Coast Regional District is the first local government in Canada to apply this innovative environmental technology at a landfill site. Benefits include reduced environmental impacts, improved operating efficiency, reduced pretreatment of landfill gas and lower maintenance costs.
The $3.34 million in Gas Tax funding received by Kamloops will buy 23,500 curb-side recycling containers and 12 splitbody collection trucks that can simultaneously pick up solid waste and recyclables. The project is expected to reduce landfill by 3,000 tonnes per year and cut down on greenhouse gas emissions through the use of the more efficient trucks.
The Province of Alberta will receive $476.9 million in Gas Tax Funds through 2010. The largest investment is in public transit, which represents 83 percent of spending through 2007. In addition to the investments in public transit in the larger urban centres, smaller municipalities have identified their GTF priorities to include water and wastewater systems, and roads and bridges.
Reducing Vehicle Use with Expanded Light Rail
The cities of Calgary and Edmonton are expanding their light rail transit systems; Calgary will receive $141 million and Edmonton will receive $108 million in Gas Tax Funds over five years. This represents about 52 percent of total funding in Alberta. Other medium-sized urban centres, such as Lethbridge, have also earmarked their GTF allocations for public transit. Lethbridge purchased eight new transit buses to enhance service on recently implemented bus routes. The 40 additional CTrain cars Calgary is purchasing with its share of funding will alleviate some of the challenges the city is experiencing with population growth, providing more transit service, more frequently. Edmonton has expanded the south line of its light rail system to encourage more people to use municipal transit thereby promoting cleaner air.
Alberta established base funding of $80,000 for its smallest municipalities. Many of these communities opted to bank their allocations and plan for significant projects in the future. The Village of Berwyn is saving for sidewalks and wastewater upgrades; the Village of Galahad is planning its future water distribution system; and the Village of Hussar will upgrade its local roads.
The Province of Saskatchewan will receive over $147 million in Gas Tax Funds through 2010. The largest investment is in water/wastewater with 40 percent of funding committed to such projects through 2007. Significant investments will also be made in roads and bridges, and solid waste infrastructure with some funding going to public transit and community energy systems.
Supporting Regional Development
Road projects are often vital to the economic growth and development of an entire region. Saskatchewan decided that 20 percent of a municipality's Gas Tax Funds must be spent on projects with regional benefits. The Regional Municipality of Mervin's Grid Road No. 794 was assessed as carrying about 50 percent of the grain haul traffic for the entire municipality and was thus recommended for "collector" status. As the road is a main access route for delivery to the grain terminal and it supports the oil industry located throughout the general area, Mervin will use its GTF allocation, in tandem with other infrastructure funding to upgrade this road.
Funding for public transit is also important in smaller and medium-sized cities. The City of Regina committed $3 million in Gas Tax Funds for a $16 million project to replace and refurbish city buses.
The Province of Manitoba will receive $167.3 million in Gas Tax Funds through 2010. Manitoba's municipalities are applying the majority of its initial allocation toward wastewater projects, most notably in the City of Winnipeg. The Manitoba capital is representative of many Canadian cities that have to upgrade ageing infrastructure that no longer meets current standards. Gas Tax Funds are predominantly invested in separating sewer lines from storm water lines, and undertaking very important wastewater treatment upgrades.
Promoting Environmentally Friendly Commuting
Manitoba has also reserved 10 percent of its allocation between 2007 and 2010 for public transit improvements in its four principal transit communities: Winnipeg, Brandon, Thompson and Flin Flon. Winnipeg has already made significant purchases of hybrid buses; this has included an articulated hybrid test bus to assess its efficiency in winter urban driving. The articulated bus is quieter, with more seats thus reducing the number of buses, and therefore the number of emission-producing bus engines serving a route.
Some smaller municipalities are also investing in a range of new transit services with Gas Tax Funds bringing services to communities for the very first time. For example, the Rural Municipality of Morris purchased a para-transit vehicle to provide services to seniors and people with disabilities, which the community will operate itself.
The Province of Ontario will receive $1.865 billion in Gas Tax funding through 2010. The greatest investment has been in public transit, representing 44 percent of funding through 2007. As Canada's largest urban centre, the City of Toronto agreed to dedicate its entire allocation of $407 million through 2010 to public transit. This funding is contributing to the purchase of 712 new hybrid diesel buses, 156 new subway cars and a variety of other upgrades and improvements to Toronto's transit system. Other priorities in Ontario include roads and bridges, solid waste and water/ wastewater projects.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
In the City of Hamilton, residents are working to reduce, reuse and recycle with a household organics (green cart) collection program. The city used $19 million in Gas Tax Funds to set up the program and build a central composting facility. The goal is to divert 65 percent of Hamilton's waste from landfills. Residents received green carts in the spring of 2006. Since then organic waste, separated at source, has been collected each week from about 150,000 households and delivered to the newly constructed central composting facility, which can process up to 60,000 tonnes per year. In its first six months, the facility received 22,565 tonnes of material. Curb-side waste audits after three months showed a 55 percent diversion rate, compared with only 33 percent before the project's implementation. Along with substantial environmental benefits, the city has profited financially by avoiding the $100 million expense of creating another landfill.
The Township of Malahide in western Ontario will use $171,769 in Gas Tax funding to rebuild and resurface a well-travelled road in its jurisdiction. The recycled cold mix technology used on the road uses 60 percent less energy than conventional hot mix asphalts and will extend the lifespan of the road by at least 10 years. Overall, the Township will receive $715,618 over five years.
A new bridge over the Maitland River in Huron County connects farming communities to Goderich, the local municipal hub. The bridge serves as both an economic and social life line while providing the environmental benefits of a more direct route to Goderich. Gas Tax Funds have been applied to about half the project's $1.2 million cost.
Through 2010, Quebec will receive $1.151 billion from the GTF, with 80 percent allocated to municipalities for water, wastewater and, to a lesser extent, local road projects. The remaining 20 percent is dedicated to municipal transit systems with $161 million allocated to public transit in Montréal. Through 2007, municipalities had committed 95 percent of their allocations to water and wastewater projects with 5 percent going to road and bridge projects.
The $222 million of Quebec's GTF dollars allocated to public transit is part of a broader five-year plan to increase ridership by 8 percent by 2012. One component of this plan is a program intended to fund projects such as buses, innovative technologies, subway and train networks, and other rapid transit networks worth $504 million. GTF dollars and other sources of federal funding represent a $411 million commitment to this effort.
Safe and Clean Drinking Water
In November 2002, the Government of Quebec adopted a water policy to improve the overall management of water resources and water systems in the province. One objective is for municipalities to achieve a rate of renewal of water and wastewater pipes of 1 percent per year by 2012 with the goal to achieve a complete renewal of all municipal water systems over 100 years. The majority of the GTF allocation to municipalities will be applied toward achieving this target.
In focusing investments on water and wastewater, GTF funds significantly improve water quality across the province. The City of Montréal, for instance, will receive $179 million to upgrade its drinking water and wastewater systems. It is beginning by rehabilitating and replacing water mains and sewer pipes in boroughs across the city. The City of Gatineau will use some of its Gas Tax Funds to modernize the drinking water treatment plant in the Aylmer section of the city.
The Province of New Brunswick will receive $116.1 million in Gas Tax Funds through 2010. By 2007, the majority of funding was dedicated to water and wastewater projects with some significant investments in roads and bridges, and community energy systems.
Solving Water Supply Issues
Chateau Heights, just north of Fredericton, stands on volcanic rock that forces water to circumvent the community completely. The small settlement has no potable water. Like many other very small communities in New Brunswick, residents depend on weekly deliveries of water in a tank truck. New Brunswick is investing $42 million over five years to alleviate water supply issues in Chateau Heights and other unincorporated areas. Examples include the extension of municipal services from Caraquet to help nearby residents who have been having a problem with salt water intrusion into their water supply, a study to find a solution to flooding and well water contamination in Point-du-Chêne and repairs to the water distribution system near Hanwell.
The Province of Nova Scotia will receive $145.2 million in Gas Tax Funds through to 2010. Halifax Regional Municipality is expected to receive over 40 percent of the GTF allocation for Nova Scotia, or $63.7 million. By 2007, municipalities had invested 45 percent of funding in solid waste projects. Another 48 percent was split between water/wastewater and public transit projects with much of the remaining funding going toward roads and bridges.
Mixed waste in landfills generates about 38 percent of Canada's total methane (a greenhouse gas) emissions. Diverting organics from landfill can have a significant impact on the reduction of these gases with a positive impact for the environment. Federal GTF dollars in Nova Scotia are going toward solid waste projects in regional facilities, such as the Halifax Regional Municipality's Otter Lake Waste Processing and Disposal Facility.
A leader in environmental waste management practices, the Otter Lake facility uses some of the most advanced technology for processing and disposing of waste material. When garbage arrives at the facility, material not suitable for the landfill is identified and removed. The remaining material is transferred to the Waste Stabilization Facility where it moves in channels to be decomposed in 18 to 21 days. The material left at the end of this process looks like the lint cleaned out of a clothes dryer filter. This significantly reduces the amount of material going into the landfill and the seepage from the landfill into any nearby water sources.
The Halifax Regional Municipality also used $47,294 in Gas Tax Funds to develop the Portland Lakes Trail in the Dartmouth area. Jointly managed by the Halifax Regional Municipality and the Portland Estates Residents Association, the 2.2 km trail is designated for walking, biking, crosscountry skiing and nature appreciation. Once complete, this suburban trail will be fully outfitted with a boardwalk, lookout stations and benches. The Regional Municipality anticipates the trail will be fundamental to improving the quality of life for the residents and encouraging alternate modes of transportation.
Prince Edward Island
The Province of Prince Edward Island will receive $37.5 million in Gas Tax Funds through 2010. The allocation is based on a fixed amount of 0.75 percent of total annual funding (not a per capita distribution) recognizing the need for less populated jurisdictions to have sufficient funds for significant infrastructure investments. The province has also established a $5 million capacity building fund. By 2007, the vast majority of funding was allocated to water/wastewater and road and bridge projects. Other investments occurred in community energy systems, public transit and capacity building.
A Cleaner, Healthier Environment
Summerside, Prince Edward Island provides an excellent example of one Canadian city making a difference in how we produce energy. With a population of only 14,500, Summerside undertook some big advances in the area of community energy systems through the development of a wind turbine electricity generation system. The city historically purchased all its electricity from outside the province and relied heavily on fossil fuel. The wind farm project is expected to provide enough electricity to meet all the city's needs at certain periods while moving toward a renewable energy source that will contribute to a cleaner healthier environment.
The GTF has provided support for the first two phases of the project. This includes the purchase of three wind turbines generating six to eight megawatts of electricity. Phase 1 is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by over 10 million kilograms per year.
In nearby Montague, GTF dollars helped build a new bridge with pedestrian walkways and improved traffic flow. The structure replaced a too-narrow bridge that had served the community for over 50 years. The new bridge promotes active transportation and more efficient and safer vehicular movement — all designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
In Charlottetown, GTF dollars for capacity building financed the exploration for groundwater to ensure an adequate and safe future water supply for the city.
Newfoundland and Labrador
The Province of Newfoundland and Labrador will receive $82.3 million in Gas Tax Funds through 2010. Of that amount, $21.9 million will be distributed to recipients for the establishment of regional waste management systems and final waste disposal sites. The remaining $60.4 million will be distributed predominantly to municipalities on a per capita basis.
The Province has earmarked over one quarter of its GTF allocation for implementing a regional waste management strategy. The goal is to divert 50 percent of the materials going to disposal, to reduce the number of waste disposal sites and to phase out open burning and incineration. The strategy will also make unlined landfill sites a thing of the past. These objectives will be achieved by increasing waste diversion, establishing waste management regions and developing modern standards and technology.
Improving the Quality of Life in Remote Areas
The small community of St. Anthony on the northern tip of Newfoundland became the first municipality in the province to benefit from the Gas Tax Fund when it received its first cheque for over $87,000 in late 2006. The town will invest the money in water, sewer and road projects, to improve the quality of life for residents and help with future growth in the area.
Yukon, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut will each receive $37.5 million over the first five years of the program. The allocation is based on a fixed amount of 0.75 percent of total annual funding (not a per capita distribution) recognizing the need for less populated jurisdictions to have sufficient funds for significant infrastructure investments.
Planning for Long-Term Community Sustainability
Nowhere is community sustainability planning more challenging and complex than in Canada's northern territories. The remote location, sparse population base and northern climate pose unique challenges for any initiative. Moreover, northern communities have limited access to planning resources and expertise, and continuously face issues with respect to the retention of skilled and experienced municipal officials. Consequently, funding for capacity building and planning are of particular relevance and importance.
All three territories established core funding to assist their communities with better planning and the development of integrated community sustainability plans. The Northwest Territories and Nunavut have dedicated 2 percent toward this base funding while Yukon has devoted 5 percent. The territories also support their communities through the planning process in a variety of ways.
For the first two years of the program, the territorial government used the capacity-building component of the GTF to develop an integrated community sustainability plan template to meet the unique planning challenges of communities in the Northwest Territories. The goal was to form the foundation for community plans and then enable municipalities to undertake their own planning and capacity building projects beginning in year three of the program.
Most of the funding will now provide for construction of, or upgrades to, water treatment facilities in places like Tuktoyaktuk, Rae and Edzo, Aklavik, Deline and Holman. The goal is to improve water quality and reduce the risks from water-borne disease outbreaks. Nearly one third of the funding or $11.3 million will go to the City of Yellowknife where municipal officials decided to use Gas Tax Funds to replace damaged water and sewer mains.
The majority of the funds will be distributed to the City of Iqaluit. The remainder will be allocated to non-tax-based communities for their most urgent priorities. Nunavut also has a 2.1 percent capacity building fund for the development of integrated community sustainability plans. Through 2007, 82 percent of funding was invested in water and wastewater projects while the remaining 18 percent went to solid waste projects.
Nunavut established the Community Infrastructure Advisory Committee consisting of representatives from the Nunavut Association of Municipalities and the Government of Nunavut. The Association of Municipalities also hired a community planner who travels within Nunavut assisting in the development of long-term sustainability plans.
The City of Whitehorse will receive about half of the amount for Yukon; $9.4 million will be allocated to First Nations communities and $2.6 million will go to unincorporated communities. Of the allocated funding to these parties, up to 5 percent will be used to develop integrated community sustainability plans. Yukon has also established an application-based community works fund for any remaining or surplus funding.
The Yukon government developed a guide and template for sustainability plans and established a review committee with membership from the Association of Yukon Communities, the Council of Yukon First Nations and the territorial government to assess and approve the plans. In Yukon, GTF capital projects are approved only after the submission and approval of integrated community sustainability plans.
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