Yukon MP Larry Bagnell, left, looks on as Whitehorse Mayor Dan Curtis speaks at a press conference about the Gas Tax Fund at the Yukon Legislative Assembly building on March 5. Officials say that Yukon communities have spent $2.79 million from the federal fund to finance 20 projects across the territory. (Jackie Hong/Yukon News)

Yukon communities use $2.79 million from Gas Tax Fund on 20 projects

Yukon MP Larry Bagnell and Community Services Minister John Streicker made the announcement March 5.

Yukon communities and First Nations have collectively spent or set aside close to $3 million from the federal Gas Tax Fund in the 2018-19 fiscal year to finance 20 infrastructure-improvement projects across the territory, federal and territorial officials said Mar. 5.

Yukon MP Larry Bagnell and the Yukon’s minister of community services, John Streicker, told media at a press conference that communities and First Nations have used or set aside a total of $2.79 million on nine completed projects and 11 newly-approved ones.

The projects include upgrades to the Tagish and Deep Creek water treatment plant, upgrades to Champagne and Aishihik First Nations’ potlatch house, reviewing and updating Teslin’s decade-old official community plan, and a full cleaning of the Carmacks recreation centre’s ventilation system.

“Those don’t sound exciting off the top, but they’re obviously important to everyone’s life — if you at home today (and) any of the waterworks in your bathroom didn’t work, you’d know pretty quickly,” Bagnell said.

Streicker agreed.

“As infrastructure projects go, these projects are not big-ticket items. They’re not the sexy things, they’re the essential things, they are the important things,” he said. “They have an impact on the quality of life for Yukoners that is significant.”

The money isn’t new. The federal government has been allocating a certain amount from the fund to municipalities and communities every year since 2014. In the Yukon, the cash is distributed via the territorial government; the territory was given a total of $16.1 million for 2018-19, with eight communities, 14 First Nations and unincorporated communities to receive a pre-set amount.

Communities and First Nations can spend the money on 18 different categories of projects. They’re also allowed to combine their allocations for joint projects, or save the money they receive for spending at a later date.

A number of other projects are also going through the Gas Tax Fund’s approval process.

Bagnell and Streicker were joined at the press conference by three Yukon mayors — Whitehorse’s Dan Curtis, Teslin’s Gord Curran and Carmacks’s Lee Bodie, who all said the fund is crucial for getting projects done since Yukon municipalities only have small tax bases to draw on.

“I’ve said this on many occasions, but I wouldn’t want to be the mayor of Whitehorse without (the) Gas Tax, and that sounds funny but I really mean that,” Curtis told media, explaining that it would simply be “too hard” to get essential work — upgrading recreation centres, repairing roads, building new municipal structures — done without it.

Contact Jackie Hong at jackie.hong@yukon-news.com

Just Posted

Dawson conservation officers investigating after garbage, animal parts attracts black bear

Conservation officers found a black bear at the pile at the end of Klondike River access road May 12

Liard First Nation denies it owes investigation company cash

The First Nation is denying allegations it owes $60,000

WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World

Trial of Toronto man charged after Yukon fentanyl bust underway in Whitehorse

Jibril Hosh Jibril has pleaded not guilty to one count of possession for the purposes of trafficking

EDITORIAL: Yes, even killers deserve due process

No one benefits when the Yukon government is focused on denying it uses solitary confinement

Record turnout for Tour de Haines Junction cycling stage race

The field of 21 riders is the largest in the history of the event

Olympic opportunity for Yukon athletes at RBC Training Ground event

“At this age group, it’s just about saying yes to opportunities. Go out. Try it out, if you like it.”

Commentary: Mining for clean energy

The infrastructure for clean energy requires mining

Whitehorse city news, briefly

A summary of some of the decisions made at the May 13 council meeting

Indoor Archery Championship includes best from across the Yukon

The 7th Indoor Archery Yukon Championship was May 5 at Tahkini Elementary… Continue reading

No time to stop and smell the flowers at the 2019 Crocus Run

Thirty-four runners raced an eight-kilometre loop along Riverdale trails teeming with crocuses

Polarettes take on the Delta invitational

It was a busy weekend at the Richmond Olympic Oval in Richmond,… Continue reading

Most Read