City of Nanaimo gets close to $17 million for water treatment plant

The City of Nanaimo will receive $16.6 million in gas tax money which will aid in providing residents with clean drinking water.

Part of a $23 million federal Gas Tax Fund transfer announced by the federal government and other levels of government Wednesday, the city will use the money for the construction of a water treatment plant, which began in April in the South Forks area.

While Nanaimo mayor John Ruttan was pleased with the announcement, he said there is still a shortfall for plant construction, which at roughly $71 million, is considered by some to be one of the costliest projects in recent memory.

The province switching back from the harmonized sales tax to the provincial sales tax system was said to account for $1 million in overruns.

“This is going to help us offset the cost,” Ruttan said. “It's matched by an equal amount from the Province of B.C. as well but it's still leaving us with a shortfall approaching $50 million and we're going to cover that by user fees for water as well as some of the reserves.”

Ruttan said the treatment plant is a massive undertaking but in the long run, would provide a high quality of water.

“Future generations are going to be able to also take advantage of this investment,” he said.

The water treatment plant will provide clean drinking water to residents of Nanaimo, Snuneymuxw First Nation and southwesterly parts of Extension. The city is also working to provide clean water to the District of Lantzville.

The gas tax transfer will also go towards seven other infrastructure-related projects in the Regional District of Nanaimo, including $75,000 for a recycling drop off centre on Gabriola Island; $750,000 for a compressed natural gas fuel station in Nanaimo for regional district transit vehicles and $2 million for land replacement at the Departure Bay outfall of the Greater Nanaimo Pollution Control Centre.

The federal government provides over $2.5 billion in annual funding, through gas tax money, for infrastucture in the province and the Union of British Columbia Municipalities administers the funding in collaboration with the federal and provincial governments.




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