Water upgrade on hold

Funds denied: Boil-water advisory remains in place.

There is no end in sight for residents of Anglemont Estates, who have been on a boil-water advisory for several years.

On Dec. 20, the Union of BC Municipalities advised Columbia Shuswap Regional District that a grant of $5.2 million to begin upgrading the North Shuswap water system had been denied.

“We don’t own the system, but we were asked to take it over by the owner of the system and the community,” says Gary Holte, CSRD’s manager of Environment and Engineering Services.

“The regional district will do that if the project is financially feasible. Without this grant money, all the costs of upgrading must be picked up by the property owners within the water service area.”

The regional district completed a feasibility study which determined the cost to upgrade the water system (in three phases) to industry standards would be $13,257,000.

The $5.2 million grant money would be used to change the water intake from a creek to Shuswap Lake, and add chlorination and UV treatment.

“We’re all disappointed about the grant announcement because, from a health perspective, water is the number-one concern,” says Holte.

CSRD submitted the application for grant funding for Phase I of the capital upgrade under the Gas Tax General Strategic Priorities Fund.

The gas tax funds are transferred from Ottawa to the Union of BC Municipalities to administer and distribute, says Holte.

But the Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development also has a provincial representative who takes part in the tri-party Gas Tax Agreement.

“Ministry staff sit on the management committee for program and project approvals with representatives from the federal government and the Union of BC Municipalities,” says a ministry spokesperson. “Projects are approved through a technical ranking process based on criteria aligned with the program goals and objectives.”

The spokesperson was unable to respond to the Observer before press time regarding whether health was one of the criteria used to determine which projects received funding this year.

“Last, spring the CSRD board voted unanimously to put this application forward ahead of other projects because it is the CSRD’s highest priority,” says newly-elected Area ‘F’ North Shuswap director Larry Morgan.

“There are 1,303 lots in the Anglemont Estates and the water system needs a complete overhaul.”

Morgan and CSRD staff plan to meet with the Anglemont Ratepayers Association early in the new year.

“At this point we want to review alternative options to resolve this situation,” says Morgan.

“The community has some choices.  UBCM has advised that grant funding will be available in 2012 and one of the choices will be to submit another grant application.

“The CSRD is calculating what the cost will be for the property owners to move forward with the needed capital upgrades without grant funding.”

Holte, meanwhile, says if there is any good news within the bad news, it is that the  1,303 parcels in the Anglemont Estates is a lot of numbers to divide by, if necessary.

“The phase-one upgrade is for a new supply and proper treatment, then we would initiate a parcel tax to generate funding for subsequent phases,” says Holte. “Most importantly, we would then go to the community, and they would decide if they want the regional district to take it over.

 

“We are trying to be part of a solution, we’re not about imposing ourselves, we’re just offering this as an option.”

 

 

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