Millions announced in water funding

Local governments in the Kelowna area are receiving investments in critical clean water infrastructure

Local governments in the Kelowna area are receiving federal and provincial investments in critical clean water and wastewater infrastructure.

The Clean Water and Wastewater Fund is providing approximately $310 million to 144 projects throughout the province.

Clean Water and Wastewater Fund recipients for the Kelowna region include:

$43,907,000 to the City of Kelowna for phase 1 of the city’s integrated water supply plan and the South East Kelowna Irrigation District (SEKID)/South Okanagan Mission Improvement District (SOMID) Water Supply Project

$41,002,000 for the Rose Valley Water Treatment Plant

$602,082 for the Falcon Ridge Water System Improvement

The Clean Water and Wastewater Fund enables crucial investments in local government infrastructure, specifically supporting long-term benefits in rehabilitating drinking water, wastewater and stormwater systems, as well as planning and designing future facilities and upgrades to existing wastewater systems.

This funding will help communities ensure that residents enjoy safe and reliable access to drinking water and improved environmental protections, and will assist local governments in meeting provincial and federal regulations. Clean water and wastewater management is a core service that communities depend on to grow and help ensure sustainability principles are met, while improving community vibrancy, resiliency and attractiveness.

“Funding of this magnitude is something we rarely see. In fact, this is the largest single grant anyone at the city can remember receiving. I want to thank the federal and provincial governments for acknowledging this essential need in Kelowna and for committing to help ensure our citizens have safe clean drinking water for a rapidly growing population a resilient and redundant water supply system to meet our agricultural needs in the face of climate change,” said Mayor Colin Basran.

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According to SEKID chair Brian Wright a deal still had not been made with the City of Kelowna by Friday morning.

“It was kind of bitter sweet in a way, and now we’ve come to an agreement that I think we can both live with,” explained Wright. “Now I can go to my rate payers and look them in the eye and say, ‘you know what we have got the best deal we can get for you’.”

Wright says he’s been told by the province that the SEKID’s hands are tied because it has to be a municipality who applies for the grant funding and when you do that you have to dissolve.

So then we had to look at it like if we are getting 17 cent dollars, what’s the best thing to do for our rate payers.”

These water woes have been ongoing for the last six years says Wright, but he is now happy with the recent outcome.

The Clean Water and Wastewater Fund is one of the key ways the B.C. government is taking action to strengthen, grow and diversify rural communities. These projects build on the immediate investments and long-term action plan outlined in B.C.’s Rural Economic Development Strategy. These projects are expected to create over 26,000 jobs and add $2.8 billion to provincial GDP.

“Water and wastewater treatment infrastructure is essential to maintaining clean waterways and a healthy environment. The federal government is committed to engaging with our regional partners to make sure they have the support they need to build sustainable communities. I want to thank our mayors and MLAs for their efforts in moving these projects forward. By working in partnership we are helping to ensure the long-term health and prosperity of Kelowna-Lake Country residents for generations to come,” said Liberal MP Stephen Fuhr.