Grant would boost Vernon water treatment plant plan

“We are increasing construction if we get this grant.”

The Greater Vernon Advisory Committee approved a recent grant application for Filtration at Mission Hill Water Treatment Plant. But, discussions began afterwards regarding timeline, purpose and application of the funds.

The Canada Infrastructure Program, Green Infrastructure — Environmental Quality Fund (Green Fund) was announced in June 2018 to assist local governments with funding infrastructure projects that will support quality and management improvements for drinking water, wastewater and stormwater. One of the three criteria for eligible projects for this program includes “increased access to potable water”.

The goal of the proposal was for the committee to endorse the $45,300,000 Mission Hill Water Treatment Plant Filtration System, with up to 73.33 per cent to be funded from the grant and the balance to be funded from Greater Vernon Water reserves.

“We are increasing construction if we get this grant,” said Zee Marcolin, the manager of utility operations for Greater Vernon Water (GVW).

She said they plan for completion by 2022. The main focus for the project, she said, stemmed from issues that arise during boiled water orders like the one in Vernon last year. Committee questions spurred Marcolin to explain that they even have a student looking at the cost of the last boiled water order and how it affected the community.

“We have a survey to the businesses in town to support this application because we heard that Starbucks did not sell one cup of coffee throughout the entire boil water and most restaurants were buying bottled water,” she explained. “So we’re trying to get some backing on the cost of what that cost the community and we’re getting letters of support from the community for this project.”

She said it’s a multi-year process; it will take some time.

“From a water quality perspective, although we are trying to alleviate the problem, it may take many many years to do that and in the meantime, we are always at risk of a boil water,” she added. “We probably won’t get a clean water source the way it was years ago. We’re trying but it’s unlikely.”

Related: GVAC debates $100,000 land acquisition fund

Related: Juliette Cunningham to continue as GVAC chair

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