The governments of British Columbia and Canada announced more than $19.2 million in joint funding for four projects in British Columbia to support drinking water and wastewater infrastructure. The projects will upgrade existing wastewater treatment facilities or construct new drinking water facilities to enhance water capacity, comply with provincial standards, improve surface water quality, and protect the surrounding environment.

The wastewater lagoon that serves the Nak’azdli Whut’en will be replaced by a new treatment system to improve operational efficiencies and protect salmon populations in the nearby Necoslie River. The Village of Lumby will benefit from a new modern facility as well as the rehabilitation of an existing lagoon system, including the installation of liners to prevent leaks into Bessette Creek.

“The new upgraded wastewater treatment plant will not only serve Nak’azdli Whut’en, but the Village of Fort St. James. We will be happy to remove the lagoon which has outlived its purpose. This will allow us to reclaim a large parcel of land and process waste in an environmentally friendly manner to protect the Necoslie River. Partnering with the Village of Fort St. James makes the most cost-effective choice for all of us,” said Lynne Leon, Chief Operations Officer, Nak’azdli Whut’en.

“Upgrades to water and wastewater management systems in these four communities will increase treatment capacity, provide safe potable water to a larger number of residents, and help protect local ecosystems. Our Government is working collaboratively with our provincial, municipal, and First Nations partners to invest in clean water and create healthy, resilient communities,” said Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities.

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Funding will also be provided to Comox Valley Regional District, helping remove seasonal boil water advisories for a number of properties, and to the Regional District of Columbia-Shuswap to upgrade the filtration and drinking water infrastructure.

“Lumby’s existing wastewater treatment plant is more than 50 years old, so replacing it now makes good sense. This will ensure compliance with the provincial and federal wastewater regulations, improve the quality of treated effluent, and from a capacity perspective, the new system will have improved redundancy measures in place,” said Kevin Acton, Village of Lumby Mayor.

Today’s announcement will lead to a better quality of life for residents, improving water quality for the Nak’azdli Whut’en and Regional District of Columbia-Shuswap, lifting boil advisories in Comox, and filtering wastewater efficiently in Nechako and Lumby. By better protecting local rivers and creeks, these upgrades will also ensure a healthier environment for future generations,” said Jonathan Wilkinson, MP for North Vancouver and Minister of Natural Resources.

The Government of Canada is investing more than $13.9 million and the Government of British Columbia is investing more than $5.3 million in these four projects through the Green Infrastructure Stream of the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program. Federal funding is conditional on fulfilling all requirements related to consultation with Indigenous groups and environmental assessment obligations. Additional contributions will be made from the municipalities and the Nak’azdli Whut’en.

“The projects we’re announcing today with our federal partners will benefit people in these four communities by improving the quality of essential services and infrastructure and helping to stimulate their local economies. Safe and reliable drinking water and wastewater systems are critical to maintaining the health and safety of communities, while also protecting the environment. Our government is committed to delivering the services that people count on and building a strong, sustainable, and innovative economy that works for everyone,” said Josie Osborne, British Columbia’s Minister of Municipal Affairs.

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Featured image: (Regional District of Columbia-Shuswap)

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