Whistler receives $474,755 grant from Strategic Community Investment Fund 

Almost $1.3 million for Sea to Sky corridor, 2012 traffic fine grant $100,000 less for Whistler

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Whistler has received a $474,755 grant from the provincial government's Strategic Community Investment Fund (SCIF), with some of that amount coming from revenues taken from traffic fines.

The amount was part of $1,283,918 in SCIF grants to Sea to Sky communities. This included $318,892 for Squamish, $320,204 for Pemberton, and $170,067 for the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District.

Whistler and Squamish's largesse came from two revenues streams, which make up the SCIF, the Traffic Fine Revenue Sharing (TFRS) program and Small Community and Regional District Grants (SCG). Whistler's breakdown was $198,104 from the TFRS and $276,651 coming from the SCG, while Squamish's breakdown was $150,873 (TFRS) and $168,104 (SCG).

Pemberton and the SLRD's grants came from the SCG only.

The RMOW's website says: "One per cent of the funding is intended to defray the cost of local police enforcement in the municipality over the term of the Strategic Community Investment Funds agreement. The Resort Municipality of Whistler received $298,514 from the Traffic Fine Revenue Sharing program in 2011 that was used to support municipal policing costs."

Whistler Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden said the Small Community Grant would go to a wide variety of expenses.

"We just put it into our general revenue funds... and that funds all of our activities. We don't earmark for any specific purpose," she said.

She said the amount received from the Traffic Fine Revenue grant was "a little down," and was $100,000 higher in 2011 than in 2012.

"I don't know why that is, if we've just got more law-abiding citizens out there," she said laughing.

The Small Community grant remained almost the same, she added, and the difference in the overall amount has not created a shortfall problem for the RMOW's budget.

A release from the BC Liberal Government Caucus, said the SCIF grants "allow communities to invest in their own priority projects" and "assist local governments in providing basic services."

In addition, the Traffic Fine Revenue Sharing program helps municipalities that directly pay for police enforcement costs. These grants come from ticket fines and court-imposed fines on violation tickets, with the amount of money received by a municipality due to its contributions to total municipal policing costs.

Monies from this provide addition funding to policing services and crime prevention programs.

When asked about the restrictions on the SCIF funding, a provincial spokesperson replied by email that "communities have the authority to use the funds as they see fit. Traffic fine revenues are intended to offset community policing and safety costs. Communities do not need to report on how either of these funding streams are used."

And in response to a question about why Squamish got less money than Pemberton, given their great disparities in population, he added:

"The reason Pemberton receives a higher amount of small community and regional district grants is because these grants are designed to help our smallest communities — with small tax bases —provide the services residents depend on. As Pemberton has a lower population than Squamish, it is eligible for a higher grant based on the funding formula.

"Pemberton is not eligible for traffic fine revenues as it has a population of less than 5,000 people and thus does not have to pay for municipal policing. Instead, it pays a relatively low provincial tax for policing and the amount of the tax is offset by a portion of traffic fine revenue sharing."

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