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qRD board to consider approving funding application for Lund Waterworks Improvement District

CAO says BC Ministry of Municipal Affairs seems to be going to great lengths to get qathet Regional District's endorsement to make an application
PROVIDE UPGRADE: qathet Regional District chief administrative officer Al Radke outlined steps for the regional district to take to apply for funding to improve Lund Waterworks Improvement District.

qathet Regional District (qRD) board will consider endorsing an application for funding for the Lund Waterworks Improvement District.

At the January 13 committee of the whole meeting, Electoral Area D director and committee chair Sandy McCormick outlined correspondence sent from Tara Faganello, assistant deputy minister with BC Ministry of Municipal Affairs, outlining that a receiver will be appointed for the Lund waterworks district.

“She’s also talking about funding for the Lund waterworks and that there is a proposed intake of funding that is closing on January 26, prior to our regional board meeting,” said McCormick.

The committee voted to receive the correspondence.

Electoral Area A director and board chair Patrick Brabazon said he wanted to ask chief administrative officer Al Radke to bring the committee up to speed on the situation regarding potential receivership of the Lund waterworks district and discussions with the province.

Radke said he had reached out to the province, and the government is in the process of appointing a receiver, and has a candidate selected, but it has to go through ministerial approvals.

“I don’t know when it will be done but they are suggesting, hopefully, by the end of February,” said Radke.

Brabazon said the regional district can put in an application for funding but it would have to come up with a proposal. He asked what Radke recommended in this situation.

“They are encouraging us to make an application,” said Radke. “They are looking at projects that will start construction in 2023 and be completed by 2026. Those dates could bode well for us, capacity and resource-wise.

“They are also considering giving us some money to change the scope or design of the project. They are prepared to explore ways for more affordable options for providing drinking water, such as, instead of a dam system, reassessing the use of wells to supply water up there. I received a telephone call and they are willing to provide staff to make the application. Our eyes would only have to then proofread it to make sure that it’s accurate.”

Radke said the ministry seems to be going to great lengths to get qRD’s endorsement to make an application. He said if the regional board passes on this opportunity, it may be one of the last opportunities to assist Lund Waterworks Improvement District.

“The writing is on the wall,” said Radke. “They are about to hire a receiver and the next step is to forward it to the closest local government, which is us. If we don’t take a run at this, I’m afraid we may have to be footing the whole bill once we get it.”

Brabazon said given Radke’s remarks, he wanted to make a motion that qRD submit an application under the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program – environmental quality, and that it be ratified by the regional board.

McCormick said Radke is clear that there is an opportunity to apply for funding.

“I say yes,” added McCormick.

City director George Doubt said he thinks it is a good idea. He said when he reads Faganello’s correspondence, he gets the idea that the water improvement district is going to be in receivership and is going to become the responsibility of the nearest local government at some point.

“They are encouraging the qRD to apply for funds to improve it and to make it a regional district service,” said Doubt. “It doesn’t seem to me to be an effort to perpetuate the improvement district.”

Electoral Area B director Mark Gisborne asked if the regional district does take on the service, would it be eligible to use community works funding to help support the infrastructure upgrades that would be required.

Radke said that based on current policy, community works funds could be used for this purpose.

The committee voted in favour of Brabazon’s motion to apply for funding for the Lund waterworks.

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