EDITORIAL: A model for funding

When small communities need to add or upgrade infrastructure, the costs can be significant.

When small communities need to add or upgrade infrastructure, the costs can be significant.

Water and sewer projects have had price tags in the tens of millions of dollars, and many other projects have had costs well into the millions of dollars.

While the costs may be offset with grant funding, the traditional funding models have still meant a significant financial hit for the communities.

If the funding comes from the provincial and federal governments, the cost is often divided equally between the three levels of government.

The dollar figure may be the same, but the impact on the total budget is far greater for a small community than for a provincial or federal government.

This is why the latest grant announcement for a sewer project upgrade is good news for the community.

The funding model in place under the Clean Water and Waste Water Fund will see the federal government footing half the bill, the province covering 33 per cent and the municipality paying 17 per cent.

The total cost of the project is more than $3.2 million and Summerland’s share, at $538,366, is still significant.

However, under earlier models, the municipality’s share would have topped $1 million — a  much heavier burden for the community.

This project is not optional work for the community. It is necessary to allow for community growth capacity and to meet the municipality’s environmental responsibilities.

While Summerland has received some much-needed help with the cost of the sewer upgrade project, it is not known whether this funding model will be in place for future infrastructure projects within the community.

There will be other projects in the coming years.

The funding model will have a huge impact on our community.