West Kelowna says in light of concerns from the public stemming from the recent three-month long water quality advisory affecting municipal water from the Rose Valley Reservoir, it has applied early for millions of dollars in funding to build a new water treatment plant.
Applying for the money through the joint federal-provincial Clean Water and Wastewater Fund, West Kelonwa’s application is the fifth made to the Ministry of Community Services for money from the fund. It was submitted Nov. 10, nearly two weeks ahead of the Nov. 23 deadline.
The application is asking for 83 percent of the funding needed to build a new multi-barrier water treatment plant at the Rose Valley Reservoir, or $44.4 million. The total cost of the treatment plan project and associated works is estimated at $53.5 million.
Work would include transmission main changes to connect the Lakeview water system with the Pritchard, Sunnyside and West Kelowna Estates water systems.
Construction of the treatment plant was recommended in the city’s water master plan, but was not slated for construction in 2022. City council agreed move it up after public outcry over the lengthy water quality advisory. That advisory forced many residents to buy bottled water during the summer and early fall and prompted the city to open its bulk water station in Shannon Lake up to the public so residents could get free supplies of clean, safe drinking water.
The advisory was was prompted by algae blooms in the reservoir that resulted in higher-than-normal turbidity levels. The city said that type of turbidity was not effectively treated through chlorination alone – currently the only treatment used for the Lakeview, Pritchard, Sunnyside and West Kelowna Estates water.
The funding application includes requests for money to installing transmission mains to connect the four water systems, all to be serviced by the new treatment plant. The connections would impact 6,200 customers, or approximately half the households, and one quarter of the businesses, in West Kelowna.
The federal and provincial governments launched the Clean Water and Wastewater Fund in September 2016 to help accelerate short-term local government investments, while supporting the rehabilitation of water, wastewater and storm water infrastructure, and the planning and design of future facilities and upgrades to existing systems.
The fund has $373.6 million available to support infrastructure projects in communities in B.C.—$225.1 million from the federal government and $148.5 million from the province.
The fund offers a maximum of 83 per cent of total eligible project costs, 50 per cent from the Ottawa and 33 per cent from Victoria. The remaining fund would come from the municipality. It is anticipated funding announcements will be made in Spring 2017.