Premier backs Sicamous water fix
Christy Clark has given her word that the province will help fix Sicamous’ water supply.
The premier, in her speech last Friday to some 1,500 delegates attending this year’s Union of B.C. Municipalities convention, assured the District of Sicamous and Mayor Darrell Trouton that the province would help set right the damage caused to the community’s water system in this year’s flooding.
“Darrell Trouton, who I met with recently when I was up to visit, has been dealing with some very challenging floods in his community, and now his water supply is under threat. Darrell, I want you to know this, because Bill (Bennett, Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development) has asked me to make sure we set this right. I know you need that water supply fixed, and we are going to help you do it,” said Clark.
Trouton, councillors Charlotte Hutchinson, Fred Busch, Don Richardson and Joan Thomson, as well as district administrator Heidi Frank, attended UBCM with a “hit list” of concerns they’d hoped to have addressed by the province. At the top of that list was the district’s water treatment facility, which was severely compromised as a result of the June 23 debris flow at Two Mile Creek.
“We proposed to them our new water treatment facility that’s needed in Sicamous, because it was wiped out during the flood and we haven’t had water since,” says Trouton, referring to a new water treatment facility being sought by the district, expected to cost between $4- and $4.5-million.
“The plan was to get a shelf-ready plan available and presented, so we did that this week at UBCM, and lobbied hard with different ministers, George Abbott, our MLA, and also with Bill Bennett and various staff about our situation in Sicamous. We were quite surprised she made a speech that Sicamous would be getting a water treatment facility – they’ll make it right.”
Apart from what the district presented, there are no further details. But Trouton thinks Sicamous’ water needs will be met by the province sooner than later.
“It’s a matter of sitting down and figuring out how much the district would have to come up with, if any, and then how fast we can get started,” says Trouton. “But I alluded to them that it needed to start immediately because of winter coming, and we’re trucking water right now. So they’re aware of all that. They’re also aware of our district finances.”
Regarding funding, it is the mayor’s hope that the province, and possibly the federal government, will foot the entire bill for a new treatment facility, for he maintains Sicamous’ current water woes are a direct result of the natural disaster at Two Mile.
“Let’s face it, our water system was wiped out by the flood… That’s when our contamination began at our intake,” says Trouton. “So this should all, ultimately, be under disaster financial assistance, which is 100 per cent paid for by the province and the federal government.
“We’re lobbying hard for that, that this was the cause of it. But keep in mind that it’s not a typical mandate of B.C. disaster assistance to do such large projects like the water treatment centre. So we’re expecting we’ll have to kick in some, possibly, but that’s all in the details.”
Trouton believes Clark to be sincere in her commitment to Sicamous, and that by having a plan in place for a new water treatment facility, the province will come through with funding.
“I think it all comes down to having a plan and moving forward, and if you do that in a responsible manner and show that this can work, then they’re apt to go along with you,” he says.