Community Services minister disappointed by editorial

Dear sir,

I was disappointed by your reaction (“Leftovers,” Sentinel, January 3) to our newly announced programs for BC communities and I feel your comments do your readers a disservice.

While you poked fun at our new Towns For Tomorrow, LocalMotion and Spirit Square initiatives, suggesting money be better spent on infrastructure, you failed to note the significant and increasing infrastructure support we provide – both through these new and existing programs.

Despite your assertion that water and sewer projects ‘don’t make for a good photo opportunity’, we fund these projects knowing that they are essential to maintaining a high standard of living in our communities.

We also know it’s crucial to strike a balance, providing for other types of infrastructure that contribute to our quality of life and provide for healthy and safe communities.

Our new $81 million investment in Towns for Tomorrow, LocalMotion and Spirit Squares provides local governments with additional resources to improve air and water quality, reduce energy consumption and encourage British Columbians to be active.

These investments complement the ongoing water and sewer infrastructure and development already in place.

Annual small community grants and our BC Water Improvement Program, Municipal Rural Infrastructure Fund and Canada-B.C. Infrastructure Program help communities provide safe drinking water and wastewater and storm-water treatment, undertake environmental energy improvements, and plan for future development.

In Kitimat, since 2001, we’ve invested more than $3.6 million in water and sewer improvements, renovations for the Kitimat pool, and extension of a runway at the Terrace-Kitimat Airport.

Since 2004, Kitimat has also received more than $260,000 under the Traffic Fine Revenue Sharing Program for use towards public safety, policing and crime prevention.

These are over and above the funds we provide directly to the Union of BC Municipalities for municipal programs and our work on agreements with the federal government, such as the Gas Tax Transfer and Public Transit Agreement funding.

We are proud these investments are helping to support socially responsive and environmentally sustainable communities.

I hope next time you write about infrastructure and community priorities you’ll agree they bear mention.

Ida Chong, FGCA

Minister of Community


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