Barriere Wastewater plant open thanks to federal Gas Tax funding

The District of Barriere’s new Solar Aquatics Water Reclamation Centre was officially opened Friday, June 10

Cutting the ribbon to open the Solar Aquatics Water Reclamation Centre in Barriere on June 10 are: (l-r)  Barriere’s first mayor

Cutting the ribbon to open the Solar Aquatics Water Reclamation Centre in Barriere on June 10 are: (l-r) Barriere’s first mayor

The District of Barriere’s new Solar Aquatics Water Reclamation Centre was officially opened Friday, June 10, by a ribbon cutting ceremony with a number of dignitaries, special guests, and area citizens in attendance.

The completion of this wastewater reclamation project means that residential and commercial properties in the core of the community will no longer be dependent on private septic systems.

The overall project involved the construction of four major components: a regional septage receiving station; a solar aquatics wastewater treatment and water reclamation centre; a collection system; and rapid infiltration basins for winter disposal.

In the summer season, the reclaimed water will be used to irrigate various municipally-owned public spaces. The district says they are also exploring ways in which the innovative design of the facility might support graduate research opportunities in horticulture, agriculture, wastewater treatment and microbiology, and high school science curriculum programming.

District of Barriere Mayor Virginia Smith said, “Without opportunities for funding through programs such as the federal Gas Tax Fund, the District of Barriere would find it extremely difficult to undertake what is for us a large infrastructure project. The fund has allowed us to construct a unique system that will have a far greater impact on the community than the single service component around the purification of wastewater.”

The mayor made note that to date, Barriere has received $12 million in federal Gas Tax Funds from the Government of Canada for projects within the area.  Nearly $7.1 million of this amount has gone to the Barriere wastewater project provided to the district and the Thompson-Nicola Regional District.

Mayor Smith thanked Kim Rink for his design of the wastewater treatment project.  She also thanked the project manager and his team for their good work.

“This project will get people off septic tanks and into a more modern way to dispose of our waste,” said Smith, “We have had three mayors involved in this project; our first mayor Mike Fennell, then Bill Humphreys who was instrumental in the bio mass burner, and myself. It seems to have taken forever to get to this stage, with roads torn up and dust everywhere, but it was worth it.”

Minister of Health and MLA for Kamloops-North Thompson Terry Lake, said, “These projects represent an important step in the District of Barriere’s commitment to wastewater solutions for its community. A reliable system for the processing of wastewater treatment is integral to the area, as it continues to attract new growth for the future. The federal Gas Tax fund allows multiple levels of government to work together on capital projects that support construction of local infrastructure and we are proud of this partnership and the positive impact it has on communities.

“The federal Gas Tax Fund is a very good program, where we see money from gasoline come back into your community to build something unique.  For Barriere to take such leadership, and to build this fantastic unique project is an amazing success story.  You guys are really punching above your weight!” said Lake.

Kamloops resident Arjun Singh, third vice-president of the Union of B.C. Municipalities (UBCM) stated, “The UBCM helps to administrate the federal Gas Tax money and over the past 11 years over $2 billion has come back to communities like Barriere from this fund.  Barriere is showcasing for all of us what can be done with this sustainable wastewater project.”

He also noted how important it is for smaller communities to represent themselves at conventions at the UBCM and The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM).

“It is important to be represented, to learn, and to be able to participate in shaping the programs and how they are developed for the communities in Canada, such as we did with the federal Gas Tax Fund,” said Singh.

Thompson Nicola Regional District (TNRD) chair and mayor of Cache Creek, John Ranta, commented that when the TNRD made the decision to close down all the septage receiving centres in the region, it left the in North Thompson the Barriere and Clearwater landfills with open air ponds.

“When we closed those two landfills, we took the opportunity to embrace this innovative project in Barriere to handle the septage in the area,” said Ranta, “Congratulations to the mayor and staff for having the guts to build something like this.  It takes guts to bring in an innovative project like this.”

Each year, the Government of Canada provides over $253 million in indexed funding for local government infrastructure projects across British Columbia through the federal Gas Tax Fund. The funding can be spent on any eligible project the community prioritizes across a broad range of eligible project categories, or it can be pooled with other communities for regional projects, banked for later priorities or used to pay for financed projects.

The Union of BC Municipalities administers the federal Gas Tax Fund in British Columbia in partnership with the Government of Canada and the Province of British Columbia.

To learn more about Canada’s new infrastructure plan: http://www.infrastructure.gc.ca/plan/index-eng.html

To learn more about the federal Gas Tax Fund visit: http://www.infrastructure.gc.ca/plan/gtf-fte-eng.html.

For more information about Government of Canada investments in British Columbia, visit: http://www.infrastructure.gc.ca/map-carte/bc-eng.html.

To find out more about the District of Barriere, visit: www.barriere.ca.