Comox Valley Regonal District announced that construction has officially kicked off on the new Courtenay Pump Station as part of the Comox Valley Sewer Conveyance Project with a ground-breaking event held at the new site located on the unceded traditional territory of the K’ómoks First Nation.

Along with the construction of a new Courtenay Pump Station, the project will include retrofits to the K’ómoks First Nation and Town of Comox Pump Stations and the installation of more than nine kilometeres of new sewer forcemain that currently moves more than 14,000 cubic metres of raw sewage each day to the sewage treatment plant. The sewer pipe runs through culturally sensitive lands and the CVRD is working with K’ómoks First Nation to mitigate impacts to archaeologically sensitive areas during construction, such as cultural heritage sites, ancestral burial places and cultural belongings.

“As a key partner in the regional wastewater management strategy, our Nation supports this important work to ensure the health of our territory, as well as ultimately deliver critical infrastructure to K’ómoks South Lands, which includes our fee simple and intended Treaty Settlement Lands,” said Coral Mackay, Elected Councillor for K’ómoks First Nation. “We will continue to focus on addressing the environmental impacts to Baynes Sound and the K’ómoks Estuary, to support our long-term goal of creating sustainable economic development that aligns with our K’ómoks values as Guardians of the lands and resources.”

This multi-year project will bring benefits to residents of the City of Courtenay, K’ómoks First Nation and the Town of Comox with much needed sewer system upgrades that will reduce the risks associated with rising sea levels and climate change.

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These improvements will keep the lands, waters, and community safer by supporting the replacement of the current pump station in Courtenay, which is susceptible to coastal and river flooding, and poses an environmental risk to waters throughout the Courtenay River Estuary, Point Holmes and Goose Spit coastlines, as well as Baynes Sound, traditional harvesting sites, and surrounding agricultural areas.

“The realities of our changing climate demand that we work to address critical infrastructure in our communities before a disaster strikes,” said Bowinn Ma, B.C. Minister of Emergency Management and Climate Readiness. “Rising sea levels, flooding and shoreline erosion are just a few of the hazards that can impact coastal sewer systems. That’s why these investments in the Comox Valley and the K’ómoks First Nation are so important – to ensure safer, cleaner waterways for the people who live there.”

K’ómoks First Nation and the CVRD ratified a Community Benefit Agreement in 2020 that commits both parties to work together collaboratively on a regional solution for sewer, for which the conveyance project plays an important role.

“The Sewer Conveyance Project will make the Comox Valley’s system sustainable for years to come, including accommodating sewer flows from Royston, Union Bay and K’ómoks South Lands, which includes their intended Treaty Settlement and fee simple lands,” said Doug Hillian, chair of the Comox Valley Sewage Commission, “Undertaking a project of this considerable scale will ensure the environmental safety of this crucial infrastructure as our community grows.”

Featured image: (Comox Valley Regional District)

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