News Release: Infrastructure Upgrades to Protect the Cowichan River

Lake Cowichan, British Columbia – The Town of Lake Cowichan will receive over $1.5 million from the Government of Canada through the Gas Tax Fund transfer to upgrade its wastewater system and undertake planning to improve drainage in the community.

“Our Government is proud to invest in the long-term health and prosperity of the Cowichan Valley,” said the Honourable Ted Menzies, Minister of State (Finance) and Member of Parliament for Macleod. “In addition to protecting the Cowichan River and the surrounding environment, these infrastructure improvements will also create local jobs and strengthen the economy.”

“We are certainly very pleased that our application for funding under theGas Tax Fund has been approved,” said the Mayor of Lake Cowichan, Ross Forrest. “Our Town has limited financial resources, and this funding will make it possible for us to make these improvements. On behalf of my council, I want to express my sincere thanks to the federal government for this contribution.”

“The Gas Tax Fund is helping local governments put essential infrastructure in place to meet the changing and growing needs of their communities,” said Bill Bennett, Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development. “This funding is a substantial contribution toward the costs of upgrading the town's wastewater treatment system which is key to the ongoing health of residents.”

The wastewater upgrades will build upon the existing facility to increase the treatment capacity of the system. The total cost of the project is estimated at nearly $1.7 million. The Town will contribute an estimated $337,000 toward the overall cost of the project. Cowichan Valley Regional District has approved the sharing of $350,000 in Gas Tax funding as part of the $1.35 million total grant for this project.

For the drainage planning improvement project, the Town of Lake Cowichan will receive an additional $172,450 from the Gas Tax Fund. A rainwater management strategy will be developed to guide land-use planning to minimize the impact of rainwater runoff on the Cowichan River. The plan will also address drainage for rare and extreme weather to protect public safety and property.

“Upgrades to wastewater systems place a heavy financial burden on property taxpayers,” said Union of BC Municipalities President Mary Sjostrom. “The federal Gas Tax Fund is helping communities to improve aging systems and meet current standards.”

Since 2006, the Government of Canada has made unprecedented investments in infrastructure. Through the Gas Tax Fund alone, municipalities across the country have received over $10 billion in transfers for local priority initiatives. Making this fund permanent at $2 billion annually was part of Canada's Economic Action Plan – a plan to help create good jobs, economic growth and long-term prosperity.

Between 2006 and 2014, British Columbia will receive more than $1.56 billion from the Gas Tax Fund to improve local infrastructure. The Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) administers the Gas Tax Fund in BC, in collaboration with Canada and British Columbia.

For additional information about federal investments in infrastructure and to stay up-to-date with Web feeds, visit www.infrastructure.gc.ca.

To find out what the Government of Canada is doing to promote jobs, growth and prosperity, visit www.actionplan.gc.ca.

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For more information:

Genevieve Sicard
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities
613-991-0700

Joe Fernandez
CAO
Town of Lake Cowichan
250-749-6681

Matt Gordon
Communications Director
Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development
250-953-3677

Paul Taylor
Relationships and Communications Advisor
UBCM
250-356-2938

Infrastructure Canada
613-960-9251
Toll free: 1-877-250-7154

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