EMBREE — With $70,000 from the federal Gas Tax Fund, Church Road in Embree will be upgraded.
The project involved digging culverts and applying gravel to a 350-metre stretch of Church Road, with a new asphalt surface to be applied in the coming weeks.
The road was identified as a priority by the Embree Town Council.
“It just makes sense to do that,” said Deputy Mayor Harold Nippard. “It is one of the most used and travelled roads in the community.
“Just about everything that happens in the community happens in and around that church and that road, so on any given day there is a substantial amount of traffic that travels on Church Road.”
Pierre Poilievre, MP for Napean-Carleton and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities was in Embree on Sept. 7 to view the area to be worked on and to meet with some members of council.
“I think they (Embree Town Council) have made a wise investment,” said Mr. Poilievre. “It looks like a very practical project and the church seems to a be a real centre for the community. Obviously it was a road that was in need of some upgrading.
“I represent a lot of rural communities, some of which still have gravel roads and the community has always benefitted whenever we have improved with asphalt or a tar chip road. So I think this community will find it to be a useful improvement and a good expenditure of funds.”
Deputy Mayor Nippard noted that with a small tax base, finding funds to do the paving themselves would have been a stretch for the municipality.
“Because of our financial situation and our restricted tax base — which is primarily property, and water and sewer tax – those taxes are directed to upkeep and maintenance of water and sewer and for debt relief,” he said. “Our ability to pave roads is almost non-existent unless we get that support from the federal government.
“We sincerely appreciate that investment in the rural parts of our province. We urge the federal government to continue that support, as I’m sure they will.”
Canada’s Gas Tax Fund provides stable, long-term funding to local governments to help them build and revitalize public infrastructure. In December of 2011, the Government of Canada passed legislation to make the Gas Tax Fund a permanent annual investment of $2 billion per year. Through the Fund, more than $31 million is provided annually for municipal infrastructure in Newfoundland and Labrador. Between 2010 and 2014, the Town of Embree will receive $146,464 from this fund.
“Prime Minister Harper feels very strongly about the need to continue to help communities like this one through the gas tax transfer,” said Mr. Poilievre. “We hope to continue to work with the council here to ensure those funds continue to help people in the area.”
This is the second paving project that Deputy Mayor Nippard was aware of that has been a direct result of the Gas Tax fund, with the other being Nippard’s Lane.
During Mr. Poilievre’s visit, he asked Deputy Mayor Nippard and Councillors Wallace Fifield and Harold Fudge if they had any thoughts to share with him that could be brought back to Ottawa.
“I represent an Ottawa riding where communities are close to a major city so the challenges are different there,” said Mr. Poilievre. “It helps me to come to a community like this one to learn about the challenges that it faces, such as an aging population, which means a shrinking tax base, but the bills still keep coming in.
“It’s good to see that they are running a lean operation here so that all the money they have goes to serving the community. “