City council has voted to set aside $50,000 from the doubled gas tax funding it is receiving in 2019 for development of the the RC Cotton Site trail with hopes of eventually linking the trail with a bridge to Scout Island. Monica Lamb-Yorski photo

Williams Lake’s doubled gas tax funds earmarked for new trail, vehicle and special reserve account

The $507,000 is a windfall, Mayor Walt Cobb said

City council has allocated a windfall of an estimated $533,000 to a special reserve account, a new vehicle for its fleet and trail development at the R.C. Cotton Site.

Read more: We want to put the lake back in Williams Lake

In 2019 municipalities in Canada will receive double the amount of Gas Tax Funding they normally get.

Mayor Walt Cobb said the City received confirmation it will be this year.

“We have good places to spend it,” Cobb said during the regular council meeting Tuesday, April 9.

In September 2019 the City announced it had successfully acquired the RC Cotton Site at the head of Williams Lake from BC Rail.

The parcel of land is a 10-acre lot adjacent to Williams Lake Creek.

Council voted to allocate $50,000 for the R.C. Cotton Site trail, $30,000 for a new vehicle, and $427,000 in a special reserve account.

What the special reserve will be used for has yet to determined, however, Coun. Scott Nelson described the gas tax money as a significant investment from the federal government.

“It’s literally a five per cent savings in terms of projects for our community and at the end of the day we want to make sure it’s spent well. There are some key projects coming up that we will be announcing and these funds will be allocated to them.”

It is a one-time doubling of the Gas Tax transfer, the Government of Canada announced on April as part of the 2019 federal budget.

In total $2.2 billion is going across the country and $278.6 million to B.C. communities.

According to the Union of BC Municipalities, although a transfer schedule has not been confirmed by Canada, it is expected that the first payment will align with the next scheduled Community Works Fund payment in July 2019.

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