Many things are happening in Lake Country, but I wish to focus on some of the positive effects that the recently approved Federal Budget will bring to us as a community and to all local governments in Canada.

I believe the 2013 Federal Budget is an important step forward for Lake Country. It is clear that the government chose to continue moving all Canadian communities ahead even as it meets its immediate fiscal challenges.

Of particular significance in this context, is the government's decision to index the gas tax transfer at 2% annually beginning in 20142015. This measure alone the first indexing of a municipal transfer will ensure the fund keeps pace with inflation and will add another $9 billion to the permanent gas tax fund over 20 years. By protecting the purchasing power of the gas tax transfer, and by extending program funding for 10 years, this budget entrenches the principle of long-term sustainable infrastructure funding, which as we said many times in the last few years, is of paramount priority for Lake Country.

The Lodge Road project is a quick example of how the gas tax monies directly granted to the municipality were used to benefit the community. In order to proceed with this important nodal project, we used all the money from the gas-tax fund given directly to the municipality over the last three years.

The budget goes further by renewing critical housing programs and reaffirming the federal role in addressing the challenges of housing affordability and homelessness. This adds up to about $1.8 billion over five years. The issue of housing affordability is quickly becoming an item for in depth discussion and resolution. Through our Integrated Sustainability Plan and our Age-Friendly Living Guidelines, it is becoming more and more evident that seniors and younger families are the most vulnerable to the cost of real estate in our area. Council has identified affordable housing as an area that is pretty high on the priority list. We hope to work with different agencies to raise this issue in our community to explore viable options that would allow us to provide attainable solutions to those who cannot afford to buy at a cost that is simply not sustainable.

What the budget does not contain, and to me is a bit of a disappointment, is a definitive roadmap to erasing the infrastructure deficit. However, it does lay the foundation for continued intergovernmental collaboration as economic conditions improve to meet the challenges that need to be addressed in our community. Whether it is wastewater upgrades, roads and transportation, or other infrastructure, we governments all need to work together to meet our residents' needs.

With the recent completion of the Kalamalka Lake Interconnect project, which was funded by both the provincial and federal governments, we know that only through an effective partnership of all levels of government including a stable and steady funding component can we maintain a decent level of life quality and ensure a decent level of infrastructure quality.