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Lund waterworks funding approved

Water improvement district qualifies for $11 million grant through infrastructure program
MEETING GUIDELINES: Lund Water Improvement District has had a $11 million grant application approved to upgrade the water system so users can have access to safe, potable water.

qathet Regional District (qRD) has announced the successful grant application through the green infrastructure stream of the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP) in support of upgrading the Lund Water Improvement District (LWID) system.

According to a qRD media release, this will help Lund meet the current regulations and deliver a sufficient supply of safe, potable water within the existing system boundaries.

The release stated that the current LWID water system does not supply water that meets the Canadian drinking water guidelines and Vancouver Coastal Health has issued a directive to improve the water quality. Significant investment is required to upgrade the system and the financial burden would be placed on approximately 109 users. Given the considerable financial impact, the qRD, on behalf of the LWID, submitted an application for funding in February of 2022, according to the release. The proposed funding will provide up to a maximum of $11,017,378, or 73.33 per cent of eligible project costs, to make necessary upgrades to improve the water quality by reforming the four main components of the system: supply, pump stations and treatment, storage, and distribution, the release stated.

To utilize this grant, the qRD would require elector approval for borrowing for up to $4,007,002 to fund the local portion of the eligible project costs. To request this approval and borrow funding, the LWID would require conversion to a regional district service.

“We would like to thank the province and the Government of Canada for supporting Lund Waterworks District to provide safe and reliable drinking water through this substantial ICIP investment,” stated regional board chair Clay Brander. “Recognizing the considerable costs required for such expansive infrastructure upgrades, we are grateful that this funding will significantly reduce the taxation burden on the users of this system.”

The LWID is a water improvement district servicing the residents of Lund, and is currently in receivership, the release stated. qathet Regional District has no financial affiliations with the LWID and does not have any part in operating this system or service, according to the release.

The LWID has been engaged in discussions with the qRD since 2007, regarding the potential of the system converting to a qRD service. In February 2018, the LWID voted unanimously to dissolve the improvement district, and advised the qRD board that it would seek conversion from an improvement district to a qathet Regional District service area, the release stated.

qathet Regional District will not entertain appropriating the system as a new service until the water system is modernized to meet current provincial requirements, and complies with the qathet Regional District utility acquisition policy to prevent associated liability risks to the qRD, the release stated.

“On World Water Day, we reflect on the significance of access to clean and safe water supply and sustainable water treatment management,” stated Harjit Sajjan, federal minister of emergency preparedness and minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada. “To support healthy communities and protect ecosystems, we must prioritize upgrades and maintenance of clean drinking water facilities and wastewater treatment systems. With funding allocated to 14 municipalities across BC, efforts are underway to strengthen and expand their water systems. These initiatives aim to establish essential infrastructure, enabling British Columbians to meet their basic needs, and empowering communities to tackle water-related challenges for generations to come."

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