Funding allocation has Abbotsford contribute $335,000 to smaller FVRD members

Abbotsford Coun. John Smith said the city is missing out on $334,939 in federal funding because of a Fraser Valley Regional District board decision.

He made the remarks during Monday night's council meeting.

Abbotsford Coun. John Smith said the city is missing out on $334,939 in federal funding because of a Fraser Valley Regional District board decision.

He made the remarks during Monday night’s council meeting.

The loss is the result of a vote taken during the district’s board of directors meeting on June 28.

At issue was the allocation of funds from the Federal Gas Tax program.

Every five years, the federal government gives a portion of the gas tax collected to the provinces, who subsequently give the funds to the various regional districts to distribute to municipalities on a per capita basis. The funding, used as part of the Regionally Significant Program, has to be used toward projects that “lead toward reduced greenhouse gas emissions, cleaner air or cleaner water.”

This year, the FVRD received $13,815,552.

Abbotsford, because it has approximately 48 per cent of the population in the FVRD, was due to receive $6,698,775.

However, the FVRD decided that  the three largest members (Abbotsford, Chilliwack and Mission) would donate five per cent of its funding to be divided among the smaller members (Hope, Kent, Harrison Hot Springs and the seven electoral areas A to G).

Because of the five per cent allocation, Chilliwack will have to contribute approximately $288,000 while Mission gives up $192,000.

Smith said the seven electoral areas – which have seven votes on the board – have a combined population of 17,693, according to the information used to establish funding amounts.

Abbotsford, which has a population of 135,866, only has five votes, one for each board member.

Abbotsford Mayor George Peary and Couns. Simon Gibson and Moe Gill, all voted with Smith against the allocation. Coun. Patricia Ross, who is also chair of the FVRD, voted in favour.

Smith wanted the vote to be weighted, meaning Abbotsford board members have the equivalent of five votes each because of its larger size.

Ross said the district sought legal opinions and the vote did not need to be weighted. She said the funding system gives the largest communities the most money and leaves nothing for the smaller areas.

“This was a way to share the pot with our neighbours,” said Ross.

It’s not the first time the three larger areas have shared its good fortune.

In 2006, the last time the funding was available, the FVRD voted to allocate 10 per cent.

“A lot has changed and maybe we don’t feel quite as generous,” said Smith.

Abbotsford is currently planning for a new water supply from Stave Lake which is estimated to cost close to $284 million. The funding is eligible to go towards that project.

“I know it’s only $335,000, but on the other hand, it’s $335,000.”

“It’s not that we are taking money from them, we just deserve to have our share. I don’t think there is anything wrong with that,” said Smith.

In January of this year, Abbotsford council decided to investigate the option of leaving the FVRD in favour of becoming a single tier governance. A staff report suggested that by becoming the sole governing body of its services, the city could save up to $1.5 million a year.

The process could take more than two years and staff are continuing to examine the idea.

 

 

Just Posted

UPDATE: Fuel truck hits train in Port Coquitlam, causing massive fire

CP Rail reporting no injuries, driver of truck is safe.

UPDATE: Pioneer Ave filming to include snow effects, stunt driving and fire arms

Pioneer Avenue to be backdrop for scenes set in 1950s

UPDATE: Rockslide keeps Coquihalla northbound lane closed

Highway 5 is closed in one direction.

UPDATE: Brother of teen killed by stray bullet in Vancouver says the death left a void

Alfred Wong, 15, was gunned down while on his way home from dinner with his family

UPDATE: Wind warning ends for Metro Vancouver after thousands lose power

More than 34,000 BC Hydro customers in the dark on Sunday morning in the Lower Mainland and Sunshine Coast

Week in Review – January 19

Movie filming, water upgrades and more

Back to work: U.S. government shutdown ends after Democrats relent

Short-term spending measure means both sides could see another shutdown stalemate in three weeks

Man lives despite malfunctioning defibrillator at B.C. arena

A middle-aged man went into cardiac arrest after at game at Pitt Meadows Arena last Wednesday.

Cause of Northern B.C. seaplane crash released

TSB releases report on seaplane crash during a water landing in 2016 near First Nations community

Vancouver police crack down on pop-up pot vendors

Officers raided merchants’ tables on Robson Square late Sunday

Bell Media, NFL take appeal over Super Bowl ad rules to top court

At issue is a ban on substituting American ads with Canadian ones during the game’s broadcast

Crown seeks 4.5 years jail for B.C. woman convicted of counselling tax evasion

Debbie Anderson the latest from group to face jail for teaching debunked ‘natural person’ theory

Movie filmed in Castlegar B.C. opens Friday

Hollow in the Land starring Dianna Agron will be playing in select cinemas.

Semi rollover on Highway 3

Highway 3 is reduced to single-alternating lanes

Most Read