Board settles gas tax question

RDOS comes up with a plan for regionally significant gas tax funding, Keremeos reservoir project will benefit

The regional district board addressed the issue of project allocation for the Regionally Significant Gas Tax Program at the Jan. 26 board meeting.

The issue returned to the newly elected board for a final decision following the previous board’s failure last November to come to terms with respect to how to allocate funding of the 4.2  million dollar grant.

At the Jan. 26 meeting,the board dealt with a motion carried over from the Nov. 17 meeting, which stated “That the board amend the regionally significant gas tax working group list of projects to show the rural funding portion be split equally between Okanagan Falls discharge and Gallagher Lake sewer, and it be submitted to the UBCM – Province management committee for application to the regionally significant gas tax program.

The word  “parochial” came up during board discussions several times, as directors wrestled with the concept of ascribing the funds to project regional in scope versus looking after the individual needs of each municipality or electoral area.

The motion put forward from last November allocated the rural portion of the grant. The remaining municipal funds would be applied to a number of regionally significant local projects across the regional district, including an allocation for $300,000 toward the Keremeos water reservoir project.

Directors had a difficult time, for the most part, trying to come up with a project truly regional that would be of benefit to every part of the regional district.Several directors were conflicted by partisan feelings as several voiced dipleasure in supporting projects that returned no benefit to their own constituencies.

Area “D” Director Tom Siddon magnanimously pointed out several times his support for the Okanagan Falls wetlands / Gallagher Lake apportionment, noting that downstream communities would be the primary beneficiaries of such a project. Board Chair and  Penticton Director Dan Ashton pointed out that Penticton was relinquishing $600,000 worth of the city’s share of the grant in support of the two regional district projects.

Parochialism ultimately took a back seat to the day, however, when the board eventually voted to amend the regionally significant gas tax working group list of projects to show the rural funding portion be split equally between Okanagan Falls Discharge and Gallagher Lake Sewer and be submitted to the UBCM—Province Management Committee for application to the regionally significant gas tax program.

The list of projects favoured for the municipal portion of the grant are as follows:

1. Keremeos water reservoir – $300,000

2. Oliver water supply well, GUDI treatment – $500,000.

3. Osoyoos energy efficient upgrades and storm water upgrades $550,000.

4. Penticton LED street light conversion  $1,200,000.

5. Princeton waste water treatment upgrades – $400,000.

6. Summerland Prairie Valley roundabout – $600,000.