Rick StiebelThe Chronicle
Ladysmith mayor Aaron Stone cites a strong partnership with the Stz’uminus First nation as a key element in obtaining an $8.8 million grant for a new water filtration system.
“We are very grateful that this significant funding has come through,” Stone said. “It is a key priority in council’s vision for a healthy and vibrant community.”
The grant – the largest of 35 awarded to B.C. communities last week at the Union of British Columbia Municipalities annual convention – is part of a Clean Water and Wastewater Fund aimed at improving community and wastewater systems across the province.
The federal government is providing $5.3 million for the project, with the provincial government providing the balance of $3.5 million.
Stone said that most of his conversations with senior levels of government often revolve around complimenting the positive partnership Ladysmith has developed with Stz’uminus First Nation.
“This relationship makes us stronger together,” he said.
Stone credited the Naut’sa Mawt (Working Together) Community Accord, supported by a joint Memorandum of Understanding outlining common initiatives, for helping both communities move forward together.
The new water filtration system will satisfy the immediate need of meeting water quality standard set by the Vancouver Island Health Authority. Coupled with the new waste water treatment plant set to open soon,, the new filtration system will provide an updated base of water and sewer infrastructure to serve residents and businesses in Ladysmith, Stz’uminus First Nation and neighbouring communities for decades to come, Stone noted.
The most recent upgrade to the town’s wastewater treatment plant to secondary level treatment cost $17.9 million. Funding for that was provided by a $5.2-million UBCM grant, a combination of low-cost borrowing and grants of $11 million in Green Muncipal Funds and the town’s sewer reserves.
In order to comply with changes to the town’s permit to operate a water supply system, the water filtration plant must be in operation by 2018. Construction will be funded through a combination of development cost charges, borrowing and water parcel taxes.