Council chambers were packed last Monday, when area residents came out to hear an “exciting community announcement” from the District of Barriere.
Mayor Bill Humphreys introduced Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo MP Cathy McLeod, and Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) Director Rhona Martin, who came to make the announcement.
McLeod said the Canadian government was proud to be able to tell Barriere they have been granted 6.7 million dollars for installing a waste water system for the downtown core. This is as a result of a grant application that Barriere’s mayor, council and staff worked on diligently and applied for several months back. The money comes from Canada’s Gas Tax Fund and it is anticipated that the funding will cover the entire cost of the project. – the District will not have to contribute to any portion of the 6.7 million.
“Our Government is proud to deliver long-term infrastructure funding for municipalities through a permanent annual investment of $2 billion in the Gas Tax Fund,” said Cathy McLeod, MP for Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo, on behalf of the Honourable Denis Lebel, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities. “These upgrades will create local jobs and benefit hundreds of homes that do not currently have sewer service.”
UBCM representative Martin congratulated the past and present council and staff of the District.
“In 2009, the University of McGill did a study on the state of Canada’s infrastructure. What they found is that 80 per cent of the infrastructure in Canada has now reached the end of it’s lifespan. So there is a big need in our communities to replace old facilities – and BC is not exception to that,” said Martin, “So communities across Canada are facing a big crunch right now: how can we fund the replacement of the old stuff, while also building new stuff to keep up with population growth and higher standards?
“Now that the Government of Canada has tabled legislation to make the Gas Tax Fund permanent, we can expect to see hundreds of additional projects in B.C. to improve solid waste, water, transportation and wastewater systems in the coming years.”
The District of Barriere has endorsed the strategy of implementing sustainable wastewater management solutions in a phased cluster-style approach. The recently acquired Gas Tax funding will provide wastewater collection and treatment services for a first phase of improvements that will include approximately 235 properties in the downtown core in the Airfield Road and Barriere Town Road areas. The final boundary and the timing of the overall project will be determined during the design phase which will begin early in 2012. Once more details are confirmed there will be a public information meeting.
Also, with the local landfill site in the process of being closed, homes in the area that will continue to have on-site wastewater treatment systems that require periodic pumping of the septic tanks were going to have to haul to Kamloops at an increased service cost until a regional solution was arrived at. The funding Barriere will receive includes a septage receiving facility for use by all local area residents as a component to wastewater treatment initiatives.
One of the reasons the funding application was successful under the Innovation Fund is that it will utilise the Ecological Technologies Inc. (ECO-TEK) Solar Aquatics treatment technology. It will be an odourless system that produces Class ‘A’ effluent that can be re-used for irrigation purposes for the downtown parkland. This technology treats wastewater using natural plants and organisms in a controlled greenhouse environment. This process mimics natural ecosystems, eliminating the need for chemicals, and is odourless due to aerobic conditions throughout the treatment process. Please contact the District offices at 672-9751 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
“This is welcome news to our community,” said Mayor Bill Humphreys. “This funding will allow Barriere to move forward with our OCP and the long awaited plan to revitalize the town core. It will also provide timely infrastructure relief for many of the businesses and residents that in the near future would have experienced costly septic problems.”