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HRM Secures Green Municipal Funds, New Capacity for Environmental Projects
(Monday, June21/2004) - Halifax Regional Council will be asked tomorrow to approve a $20 million, low-interest loan from the Green Municipal Investment Fund (GMIF) of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM). The 10-year loan will be used to help finance the Harbour Solutions Project.
In addition, Regional Council will be asked to approve the establishment of a Sustainable Community Reserve Fund, which will provide HRM with new capacity to help finance environmental projects throughout the municipality.
FCM's Green Municipal Investment Fund normally lends money at 1.5% less than the applicable Government of Canada bond rate. The difference between that subsidized rate and the rate that is paid on the remainder of the Harbour Solution Project financing must be dedicated to activities that support the general principles of the FCM's Green Municipal Funds.
Staff is recommending this can be achieved by contributing annually an amount equal to the interest differential on the loan to a Sustainable Community Reserve. This will help fund important and beneficial environmental projects, with no impact on the General Tax Rate. The rate differential is expected to initially contribute approximately $400,000 annually to the new reserve fund.
"The ability to access these funds at the preferred interest rate will not only assist us with the Harbour Solutions Project, but also allow HRM to further expand it's environmental programs at no additional cost to taxpayers," said Mayor Peter Kelly. " It can often be difficult to fund these types of start-up and leading edge environmental initiatives. Therefore, HRM needs innovative new ways to help finance green initiatives that lead to quality community living through enhanced land, air and water quality."
New Glasgow Mayor Ann MacLean, FCM President, said "I am very pleased that the Federation of Canadian Municipalities is supporting this project through the Green Municipal Funds. It represents HRM's dedication to innovation and to its drive to secure an environmentally-friendly future for its citizens."
The Government of Canada has endowed $250 million to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities to establish and manage the Green Municipal Funds. The Funds support partnerships and leveraging of both public and private sector funding to reach higher standards of air, water and soil quality, and climate protection.
To date, GMIF has leveraged over $1 billion in investment through an outlay of $118 million in loans and $20 million in grants in 47 capital projects. Along with setting a new precedent in maximizing the environmental, social and economic benefits of sustainability, through its development of innovative project financing, GMIF is spurring the market for new environmental technologies in Canada.
More information on the Green Municipal Funds, including details of other approved projects and studies, is available on the FCM's Knowledge Network, www.kn.fcm.ca
Please visit FCM's main Web site at www.fcm.cafor information on all Federation activities.
Mayor Peter Kelly
Mayor Ann MacLean
President, Federation of Canadian Municipalities
HRM Corporate Communications Officer
Manager/Senior Advisor, HRM Environmental Management Services