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Kelowna Council approves water funding applications

File photo of a water pumping station.
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December 06, 2016 - 12:20 PM

The City of Kelowna has submitted grant applications worth a total of $76 million to the Clean Water and Wastewater Fund.

The federal-provincial funding program offers a maximum of 83 per cent of the total project costs. Fifty per cent is contributed by the Government of Canada and 33 per cent by the Province of British Columbia. Local governments would fund the remaining 17 per cent of the project cost.

“This is such as great opportunity to achieve real progress with potential 17-cent dollars,” said Mayor Colin Basran. “We have not seen a funding opportunity for water and wastewater projects of this scale in many years.”

The City’s top priority request is for funding that would see clean drinking water delivered to the customers of South East Kelowna Irrigation District (SEKID), agricultural water to the South Okanagan Mission Irrigation District (SOMID) and enhancements to the City of Kelowna’s water utility, including capacity for future growth in the south Mission. 

The proposed project would be reviewed through a value planning exercise in early 2017, which will help determine the long-term future for water delivery throughout Kelowna. Next steps will depend on the outcome of the value planning exercise and what, if any, funding level is secured. Additional city approved projects resulting from the value planning exercise could also potentially be considered for funding. The grant application is for $67.5 million.

A second application is for an $8.5 million grant to expand the City’s sewer system into areas of the city currently on septic systems. This project would help protect and improve the health of the City’s main source for drinking water by eliminating harmful nutrients from going into Okanagan Lake. 

City staff had been assembling the relevant documents to support an application ever since the funding program was announced Sept. 28 at the Union of B.C. Municipalities annual convention.

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