Williams Lake is receiving federal-provincial investments in critical clean water and wastewater infrastructure, announced Donna Barnett, MLA for Cariboo-Chilcotin Friday, on behalf of Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development Peter Fassbender,
The Clean Water and Wastewater Fund is providing approximately $310 million to 144 projects throughout the province, with Williams Lake awarded $450,233 for phase four of the storm water management project in the River Valley and $166,000 for a water management strategy.
“Creating an effective and efficient stormwater management system is beneficial to the whole community,” Barnett said. “It is great to see our government prioritizing the needs of rural areas with key infrastructural investments.”
Mayor Walt Cobb said the money for a water management strategy comes at a time when the federal government is pushing for communities to ensure manganese levels in drinking water are at an acceptable level.
“The federal government is saying if it reaches a certain point we have to look at a water treatment plant,” Cobb said. “This funding enables us to look at what that’s going to look like at the end of the day. What is our water table and if we have to put in a treatment plant how much is that going to cost?”
It also gives the city the opportunity to look at the option of installing water metres, he added.
“If we are going to have to go to the extent of treating water, we better know exactly how much water we are using for sure, not just what we are pumping into the well. The users are going to have to pay the bill, which they are already through the water bills, but metres would help us regulate and make sure everybody is paying for their usage.”
There are people that water their lawns a “whole” lot more than necessary, Cobb said, noting water metering would see them pay extra.
“It will also help us conserve water. It is not just about the revenue, it’s about water management. There’s no use wasting it. It’s a very valuable commodity.”
Putting in metres would be costly, he added.
The city’s manager of water and sewer Joe Engelberts, said the money for stormwater management is for building retention ponds in the creek valley to eliminate suspended solids from entering the creek during rain events.
“I do believe this is the second to last retention pond project the city will be undertaking,” Engelberts said.
Safe and reliable drinking water and wastewater systems are essential infrastructure for all communities in the province, said Peter Fassbender in a press release.
“The Clean Water and Wastewater Fund enables local governments to make the critical investments in essential services their citizens rely upon. This program is another successful example of our government working together with our federal and municipal partners to best serve British Columbians.”