Funding sought for regional projects

The City of Vernon is pushing for gas tax to be pumped into infrastructure improvements.

The City of Vernon is pushing for gas tax to be pumped into infrastructure improvements.

Council will ask the North Okanagan Regional District to use part of its gas tax revenue to go towards four projects it believes are regionally significant.

“They are quite relevant and timely,” said Coun. Buffy Baumbrough.

The proposed initiatives include a 31st Avenue transit exchange, relocation of the septage facility, construction of a trail from Highway 6 to Kalamalka Road and further development of the Middle Mountain trail system.

A cost for the septage facility has not been determined, but the projected price tag for the other three projects is about $1 million each.

“All of the projects have a regional aspect,” said Rob Dickinson, engineering manager.

In particular, Dickinson points to trails on Middleton Mountain.

“It will benefit all three jurisdictions — the city, Coldstream and the regional district,” he said.

To be eligible for a grant, a project must lead towards reduced greenhouse gas emissions or improve air and water quality, and be regional in impact.

NORD receives a portion of gas tax revenue from senior government. It’s valued at about $4.1 million and other communities will also put forward proposals for consideration by the regional district.

Coun. Patrick Nicol is concerned none of the city’s plans would focus on water quality, but it’s anticipated NORD may make a pitch for those upgrades.

“This will just be part of a bigger list that’s competing,” said Leon Gous, Vernon’s chief administrative officer, of the four projects put forward by the city.

Baumbrough admits that Vernon may not get all of its proposals approved.

“My hope is what ever is funded, they will be regionally significant and that it has an impact for a number of jurisdictions,” she said.