Canada and British Columbia invest in drinking water and wastewater infrastructure
Victoria, British Columbia, December 21, 2021— Water and wastewater management systems are the backbone of municipalities and First Nations communities. Investments to improve water quality and system efficiency create good local jobs, address the economic challenges brought on by the pandemic and climate-related events, and help build the infrastructure communities need to recover and thrive.
Today, the Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities and the Honourable Josie Osborne, British Columbia’s Minister of Municipal Affairs, 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.
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.
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.
“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.”
The Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities
“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.”
The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, MP for North Vancouver and Minister of Natural Resources
“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.”
The Honourable Josie Osborne, British Columbia’s Minister of Municipal Affairs
“We’re working with the federal government and local communities to support clean water and resilient infrastructure investments that promote community and environmental health, as we continue to address climate change and its impacts on people throughout the province. These projects are important investments in a cleaner, healthy future with modern services to protect people living in these communities.”
The Honourable George Heyman, British Columbia’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy
“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.”
Lynne Leon, Chief Operations Officer, Nak’azdli Whut’en
“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.”
Kevin Acton, Village of Lumby Mayor
Through the Investing in Canada Plan, the federal government is investing more than $180 billion over 12 years in public transit projects, green infrastructure, social infrastructure, trade and transportation routes, and Canada’s rural and northern communities.
Over the last six years, 236 water and wastewater infrastructure projects, including the 4 featured today, have been announced in B.C. with a total federal contribution of more than $694 million.
During that period, over $38 billion has been earmarked for communities across Canada to support world-class, modern public infrastructure, including over $4 billion for water and wastewater infrastructure projects.
As of June 30, 2021, $2.07 billion of targeted funds has been invested to support water and wastewater-related infrastructure projects in First Nations communities.
The Government of British Columbia is investing $3.6 billion over a 10-year period under the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program for initiatives to support drinking water, wastewater, stormwater, climate change mitigation and adaptation projects throughout the province.
Infrastructure Canada helps address complex challenges that Canadians face every day—ranging from the rapid growth of our cities, to climate change, and environmental threats to our water and land.
Press Secretary and Communications Advisor
Office of the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities
B.C. Ministry of Municipal Affairs
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