After four years of construction, the long-awaited West Kelowna multi-phase Sewer Servicing Strategy is complete, thanks in large part to $11.1 million in funding from the Federal and Provincial Governments.
Approximately 1,500 homes throughout the community are able to connect to municipally-supplied sewer services thanks to the Building Canada grants received for the District’s sewer projects.
Mayor Doug Findlater said the municipality and homeowners living within the various Glenrosa, Boucherie and Lakeview Heights service areas would not have been able to afford sewer service extensions if it wasn’t for two grants – one announced March 2009 and the other February 2010 – that the Government of Canada and the Province of British Columbia awarded under the Building Canada Fund – Communities Component.
“I am happy to see the completion of this project, that has improved critical infrastructure for residents of West Kelowna,” said Dan Albas, MP for Okanagan-Coquihalla, speaking on behalf of Minister Lynne Yelich, Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification. “By supporting projects like this, the Harper Government is providing modern, reliable infrastructure that, in turn, supports jobs, growth and long-term prosperity.”
“This sewer system will have multiple benefits to not only homeowners and businesses that rely on it but ultimately it will safeguard our health by reducing environmental risk,” said Westside-Kelowna MLA Ben Stewart, representing B.C. Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development Bill Bennett. “It’s been a real win-win project and a real testament to partnership on many levels. I commend the District of West Kelowna and local residents for making it happen.”
“Our newly-incorporated municipality was facing quite an uphill battle in 2008, inheriting a Sewer Servicing Strategy that we simply could not accomplish without help. Our Federal and Provincial partners really came through for this municipality, and the two funding commitments we received meant we could pursue the project,” says Mayor Doug Findlater. “On behalf of all residents of West Kelowna, I thank the Federal and Provincial Governments for their generosity and our MP and MLA for supporting our community.”
Findlater was joined by Albas and Stewart in officially opening the Wine Route on Boucherie Road which is laid over the last of the district’s sewer projects. The completed sewer projects now mean residents in many areas of the community no longer live in fear of aging and failing septic systems and important environmental health infrastructure is in place.
The total cost of the municipal sewer projects was approximately $26 million. With the contribution from the federal and provincial governments, West Kelowna property owners saw their sewer servicing costs per connection reduced significantly.
“This massive infrastructure project would have cost homeowners $18,500 per connection, something that would have been very difficult for most to handle in these tough economic times. Now, we are still awaiting the final costs per connection, but it is predicted to be $8,400 or less for each homeowner serviced,” said Findlater. “This project was one of West Kelowna Council’s first strategic infrastructure priorities and we accomplished its successful completion while saving our taxpayers from a huge financial hit thanks to financial support from our Federal and Provincial partners and lower-than-expected construction costs.”
Findlater says the economic benefits for the local construction industry will continue on as homeowners engage contractors and gradually connect to the system over the coming years.