Good news for Gateway

Gateway Water System engineering projects get underway

Residents on the Gateway Water System are finally seeing some movement toward starting construction on their new water supply.

At its May 10 meeting, the Cariboo Regional District board approved engineering design work and final cost estimates after $125,000 project funding from the province was presented to the board in March from Community, Sport and Cultural Development Minister Bill Bennett.

CRD Area H Director Margo Wagner says since then, the residents were required to do another unofficial petition to determine sufficient numbers are still on board to pay for 30 years of increased water fees to cover the installation.

“I had a few phone calls over the winter because I think they were getting frustrated, waiting to see if the funds were going to come in, and a few people had been talking about drilling wells.”

However, after the CRD sent an update to residents in February, and then the most recent funding came through, she notes 100 per cent of the residents, who had originally signed up, remain in favour of moving ahead to build the system.

While additional federal funding was pursued unsuccessfully, beyond the federal-provincial gas tax funds administered by the CRD, Wagner says the project will move forward for completion in fall 2014.

“The engineers have been out there doing some work prior to the May 10 board meeting, and they’ve identified five possible locations for drilling the well. So that is the next step – if they hit a good aquifer that has good water supply, then they’ll proceed to actually design the system.”

Investigations into the geology of the area and the potential for easements are also underway by engineers, she adds, although it is hoped easements will not be required.

Wagner says as the funding commitments now stand, the approximately 25 residents on the Gateway Water System will pay a total of $250,000 in project costs, amortized over 30 years in their water fees.

This is in addition to the $125,000 from the province and about $375,000 from the CRD’s Community Works grant (funded by the gas tax agreement), to a project total of around $750,000.

The issue dates back to early in 2012 when residents discovered the private, 40-year-old Gateway Water System will soon cease operation due to its deteriorating infrastructure.

The rough design used for planning the new system so far has costing that hopefully errs on the side of caution, Wagner says, so the capital project doesn’t run out of funds before completion.

“We tend to go higher, just so when we apply for grants and funding we’ve got the money we know we are going to need, and if it comes in a little bit lower, that’s a bonus.”