The Town of Hay River has some decisions to make after receiving federal funding from what used to be called the gas tax.

The Government of Canada announced $17.25 million in Canada Community Building funding in the Northwest Territories last week.

The town received $1.478 million and is to see another one-time top-up of $1.397 million.

Neighbouring communities in the South Slave, including Enterprise and Katl’odeeche First Nation each received $85,000 in allocation money for 2021-22 and $85,000 in one-time top-up money.

The Canada Community Building Fund, formerly known as the federal gas tax, is a regular source of funding that the Government of Canada provides municipalities through the provinces and territories.

Funds are routinely provided to provincial and territorial governments or to municipal associations responsible for delivering the fund and that money is then distributed to municipal governments according to terms and conditions agreed to in advance.

In the case of Hay River and other recipients of the Community Building Fund, those municipalities are bound by the bilateral Administrative Agreement on the Federal Gas Tax Fund, signed by the federal government and the GNWT. It spells out the rules and responsibilities that municipalities have to abide by in using the money.

“Once received by the municipality, funds can be used immediately for priority projects, banked for later use, pooled with other communities for shared infrastructure projects, or used to help finance other infrastructure expenditures,” said Zoltan Csepregi, media relations with Infrastructure Canada.

Glenn Smith, senior administrative officer for the municipality said that the $1.478 million had already been budgeted for. The town had been expecting the other remaining $1.397 from the Community Building Fund but had not been included in the 2021 budget.

How that money will be used is yet to be determined later this year.

“Through an update of our 10-year capital plan, council will allocate the dollars to infrastructure projects that require funding,” he said.

“Through a recommendation of administration and the town’s finance committee, the dollars will be used to support projects on the capital plan that require funding in order to proceed.”

At the moment however, there are no major capital needs associated with the fire hall, Smith said.

Smith said that money for “fire halls and fire stations infrastructure” is a new focus by the community building fund and can be used for a wide variety of infrastructure projects.

The Hay River Fire Department extends its service beyond the municipal borders as it does provide some secondary fire, ambulance and rescue services to the Katl’odeeche First Nation, Enterprise, Kakisa and along the highway system to the border at Fort Resolution and Fort Providence.

Simon Whitehouse

Simon Whitehouse came to Yellowknife to work with Northern News Services in 2011. Simon obtained his journalism education at Algonquin College and the University of Ottawa. Simon can be reached at...

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