Ladysmith receives $5.2 million to upgrade sewage treatment

Ladysmith is further on its way to providing secondary sewage treatment after receiving a $5.2 million from the federal government.

Nanaimo-Alberni MP James Lunney announces a $5.2-million grant from the Canada Gas Tax Fund for secondary sewage treatment in Ladysmith at the wastewater treatment plant on Oyster Cove Road.

Nanaimo-Alberni MP James Lunney announces a $5.2-million grant from the Canada Gas Tax Fund for secondary sewage treatment in Ladysmith at the wastewater treatment plant on Oyster Cove Road.

The Town of Ladysmith is a big step further along on its way to providing secondary sewage treatment after receiving a $5.2-million grant from the federal government last week.

A state-of-the-art secondary sewage treatment system — the first of its kind in North America, according to a press release — is being built in Ladysmith, thanks to more than $5.2 million from Canada’s Gas Tax Fund.

The town is upgrading its present current treatment plant to secondary treatment, reusing or continuing to use components of the existing plant while building new structures and processes to provide full secondary treatment, explained Mayor Rob Hutchins.

The total cost of the upgrade to secondary treatment and additions is about $21,000,000, according to Hutchins.

The town has completed or nearly completed the first two phases at a cost of $5.5 million, and this final phase is estimated to cost between $14 million and $16 million.

The $5.2 million from the federal government will help complete the third phase, and Hutchins says the remainder of the funds will come from town reserves, additional grants and/or borrowing.

Nanaimo-Alberni MP James Lunney was in Ladysmith Jan. 19 to announce the federal funding, along with Parksville-Qualicum MLA Ron Cantelon, Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) board member Joe Stanhope and Hutchins.

“This [grant] is here to see this project go ahead to complete your water treatment program here, add some secondary treatment to create improvements that will bring the entire program up to provincial and federal standards,” said Lunney. “I understand there’s an energy component to this project as well. This project is going to be extremely important for the community of Ladysmith.”

Stanhope spoke about the importance of the Canada Gas Tax Fund in helping keep property taxes from rising, as it provides much-needed funds for municipalities.

“This is a very important fund because the only source of revenue municipalities and local governments have is property tax,” he said. “Rules and regulations are getting more difficult, costing more money, a lot of the old infrastructure — 80 per cent across Canada — is due for repair. This fund is really helping all of us very much, helping keep our property taxes low, so it’s very important. It’s helping us close the gap on our infrastructure deficit.”

These funds will save every single property owner in town $2,300 because the town won’t have to raise the money for the upgrades through taxation, explained Mayor Rob Hutchins.

“The Canada Gas Tax Fund represents the federal government’s commitment to invest in our community and help us upgrade and rebuild our infrastructure so we can do a better job and lessen our impact on the environment, and we are so thankful for it,” he said. “For far too long, our community, like too many communities on the west coast of B.C., discharged our sewage into harbours like this.”

Sewer lines were built in Ladysmith in 1902, and for the next 64 years, raw sewage spilled out into an outflow where the Ladysmith Community Marina now sits, explained Hutchins.

At one time, the harbour produced an abundance of clams and oysters, he noted.

“This once-great aquaculture industry languished because of our historic failure to do the right thing, as we continued to treat this beautiful harbour as a disposal site for our waste,” he said. “Since 1966, we have been doing better. We have learned from our mistakes, with the construction of a treatment plant on this site and millions of dollars of upgrades. We have been making progress.”

In the past three years, the town has spent $5.5 million dollars upgrading the water treatment plant in two phases, explained Hutchins.

“However, this funding today will allow us to finally move forward with the third phase, full secondary treatment,” he said. “It’s going to help us restore the health of this harbour, it’s going to help us establish thriving marine life in this harbour and hopefully not too far in the distant future … we’re going to be able to once again harvest the rich bounty that is available here and at the same time, we’ll again honour, respect  this gift we share with the Stz’uminus First Nation.”

This is the largest single gift the town has received, according to Hutchins.

The earliest construction on the plant can begin is September, explained Hutchins.

A number of steps must be completed first, including completion and acceptance of the Liquid Waste Management Plan by the Ministry of the Environment, final design of the plant and the construction tendering process.

During the funding announcement, Deputy Mayor Duck Paterson acknowledged and thanked retired Public Works manager Joe Freisenhan, who worked very hard to make this possible.

Just Posted

Rick Ruppenthal of Saltair will host a 12-hour talk-a-thon Friday, June 18 over Facebook live. (Photo submitted)
Talk-a-thon to focus on men’s mental health issues

Saltair man spearheading a campaign to generate more conversation during fundraiser

(File photo)
Poverty reduction survey identifies 10 poverty themes

Poverty reduction plan will be finalized in July 2021

Nanaimo-Ladysmith MP Paul Manly says he has no intentions of leaving the Green Party. (House of Commons image)
Island Green MPs have “no intention” of leaving the party after ‘heartbreaking’ departure

Manly, May only remaining Green MPs after Jenica Atwin left for the Liberals over internal disputes

New COVID-19 cases on Vancouver Island by local health area for the week of May 30-June 5. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control image)
COVID-19 cases drop again almost everywhere on Vancouver Island

Nanaimo had four new cases last week, down from 22 the week before

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

There is an emergency shelter near the Golden Ears peaks. (Facebook/Special to The News)
Hiker fogged in on Golden Ears, spends 2 nights

Talon Helicopters, Ridge Meadows Search and Rescue bring him home Monday

Annamie Paul, leader of the Green Party of Canada, speaks at a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, on June 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Green Leader Annamie Paul facing no-confidence motion from party brass

move follows months of internal strife and the defection of MP Jenica Atwin to the Liberals

Tulips bloom in front of the Supreme Court of Canada in Ottawa, Thursday, May 10, 2018. Day two of a full week of scheduled hearings will be heard in Federal Court today on a case involving Indigenous children unnecessarily taken into foster care by what all parties call Canada’s “broken child welfare system.” THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
AFN slams Ottawa for ‘heartless’ legal challenge of First Nations child compensation

2019 decision awarded $40,000 to each Indigenous child removed before 2006

Ivy was thrown out of a moving vehicle in Kelowna. Her tail was severely injured and will be amputated. (BC SPCA)
Kitten thrown from moving vehicle, needs help: Kelowna SPCA

The seven-week-old kitten had severe tail and femur injuries

The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre estimates that less than five per cent of mass-marketing fraud is ever reported.
Tips to avoid scams targeting Vancouver Island seniors

In most cases, fraudsters impersonate an individual, business or agency seniors recognize and trust

Vancouver courthouse. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Man loses bid to appeal conviction for 1999 rape at Abbotsford music festival

James Redden, 53, formerly of Nanaimo, was found guilty in 2019 following six-day trial

A health-care worker holds up a sign signalling she needs more COVID-19 vaccines at the ‘hockey hub’ mass vaccination facility at the CAA Centre during the COVID-19 pandemic in Brampton, Ont., on Friday, June 4, 2021. This NHL-sized hockey rink is one of CanadaÕs largest vaccination centres. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
‘Vaxxed to the max’: Feds launch Ask an Expert campaign to encourage COVID shots

Survey shows that confidence in vaccines has risen this spring

Port Alberni court house (Alberni Valley News)
Inquest set into 2016 death of B.C. teen after a day spent in police custody

18-year-old Jocelyn George died of heart failure in hospital after spending time in jail cell

Most Read