Local politicians are rejoicing over an “unprecedented” funding announcement that will finally improve water quality in the 100 Mile House area.
A grant of $ 5,850,000 from the Gas Tax Strategic Priorities Fund to the 100 Mile House Water Supply Upgrade project was announced on Feb. 12.
The two-phase project will provide a reliable, safe and clean water supply to the residents of 100 Mile House, as well as trucked water consumers in the surrounding area.
Phase 1 addresses water security and quality.
Phase 2 provides adequate fire protection in the Exeter Road area and improves water storage capacity in the industrial area.
The work includes construction of additional wells and a water treatment plant designed to remove manganese from the source water, which has led to extensive black precipitate in the water.
The balance of the $6.4 million project will be covered by the District Utilities Infrastructure Reserve.
Work on the project has already begun and two new production wells are expected to be drilled this year. Both phases are expected to be completed in 2018.
The treatment problem, as it exists today, I don’t believe was on anyone’s radar until the last 10 years or so, District of 100 Mile House Mayor Mitch Campsall says, adding getting adequate pressure and storage up to Exeter has been a long standing issue.
“The last two councils have really grabbed the bull by the horns and said, ‘We need this. This is a priority for our community’. It’s taken us this long to get there, but we’re here and we’re pretty excited.”
It’s the largest grant of this kind in British Columbia this year and the largest grant 100 Mile House has ever received, the mayor adds.
Securing the funding and getting the project underway was a “team effort,” says Campsall, who credits local staff and engineers.
“This is for the future. It’s the future of 100 Mile.
“This will add up to fire protection in the industrial area and will add water to the industrial area. It brings room in for expansion up there.”
Councillor Ralph Fossum was also happy to see a solution in the works.
“The problem has always existed. Councils over the years have known of it, but have never had a solution available. That kind of money was never available. A $1-million grant would have been outstanding, but close to $6 million is unprecedented.”
The government of Canada provides $253,276,892 in annual funding for municipal infrastructure in B.C. through the federal Gas Tax Fund.
The Union of B.C. Municipalities (UBCM) administers the Gas Tax Fund in the province, in collaboration with federal and provincial governments.