WHY IS AN UPGRADE TO THE WASTEWATER TREATMENT PLANT NEEDED?
HOW MUCH WILL THIS PROJECT COST?
The overall projected project cost as of January 2020 is coming in at $37.9 million.
WHY DOES THIS UPGRADE COST SO MUCH?
Wastewater treatment facilities are complex and costly. Communities across the country are making significant investments to meet new regulations and guidelines. Within BC a number of communities have faced or are facing similar challenges, including: a $28 million upgrade in Cranbrook; $24 million upgrade in Penticton; a $43 million upgrade in Kamloops; and projected project costs of $22 million in Sechelt; $56 million in the Comox Valley; and $25 million in Powell River. The financial burden on communities is significant and only compounds the existing funding gap municipalities are facing in the replacement of roads, buildings, bridges and other infrastructure.
IS THERE GRANT FUNDING AVAILABLE FOR THIS PROJECT?
WILL THE NEW TREATMENT PLANT IMPROVE ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITIONS IN THE HARBOUR?
The wastewater treatment plant upgrades will significantly improve the quality of the effluent (treated wastewater being discharged), dramatically reducing any potential public health impacts and improving the aquatic habitat in the Alberni Inlet for all species. Detailed studies and an innovative design process have been undertaken in the plans for the outfall to minimize impacts on salmon.
HAS COMMUNITY INPUT BEEN CONSIDERED?
Community input and feedback is an important part of local government. The City has ensured that local interests were being considered during the design through the formation of Technical and Public Advisory Committees and also through detailed consultation with the Hupacasath and Tseshaht First Nations. This dialogue brought significant value to the project by incorporating local knowledge and perspectives regarding the unique environmental, recreational and cultural aspects of the estuary, river and harbour.
The City is committed to continuing to work with local interest groups to identify potential project impacts and determine possible mitigation measures.