A $3 million federal infrastructure grant will relieve some of the burden on the wallets of Anglemont residents, who are funding a new water system for the area at a total cost of $9.8 million.
Anglemont’s water supply is failing, inefficient and, at times, completely unusable. It has been the subject of one of the longest running boil-water advisories in B.C. for the 430 residences connected to the system.
MP Colin Mayes, a former Columbia Shuswap Regional District Director, said he understood the challenges small communities have in paying for expensive infrastructure.
“Once this project is completed, the water will be drawn from a new source. They will have reliable and clean water and it will take them off the water advisory – finally.”
The grant comes from the Gas Tax Fund.
Mayes said the program takes into account that funding infrastructure projects in more remote areas can be challenging.
“It’s a significant amount for the population, but there is a significant need for people in these areas to have safe, reliable drinking water.”
The remainder of the funding, which amounts to $6.8 million, will be provided through approved borrowing by the property owners in the service area. The upgrades will provide a new water source and treatment plant, install 10 new pressure reducing stations, and replace a substantial portion of the distribution system. Currently the water for the residences and golf course is drawn from Hudson Creek. The new system will use untreated water from the creek to irrigate the golf course, while the residents will see UV filtered, chlorine-treated water drawn from Shuswap Lake. The plant will have the capacity to support 1,308 properties in the area and will allow for development opportunities.
“The system has been unreliable both in terms of quality and quantity,” says Terry Langlois, water services co-ordinator. “At Christmas 2011 there was no water at all, none. Currently people are not sure until they wake up and turn on the tap as to whether they will have water.”
Calling it a great day for the North Shuswap, Larry Morgan, the CSRD director for the area, said this grant announcement is great news for Anglemont and a major shot in the arm for the North Shuswap as a whole.”
In British Columbia, the Gas Tax funds are administered through UBCM (Union of BC Municipalities).
UBCM First Vice-President and Electoral Area ‘E’ Director, Rhona Martin said this was a “textbook example” of why the Gas Tax Fund works.
“For a small community, $9.8 million is a tall order to fund through taxation. It is very difficult to fund a project like this based on property taxes alone.”
The CSRD will hold a public meeting on Tuesday, March 12 at 7 p.m. at the Lakeview Community Centre. CSRD staff will provide residents with updated project and financial information.
Langlois said the area will be a “beehive” of activity this summer with a view to seeing the majority of the work completed in 2013.