In a major effort to protect Swan Lake, local governments have signed a memorandum of understanding for a wastewater recovery system.
The agreement, between the North Okanagan Regional District, the Township of Spallumcheen and the Okanagan Indian Band will allow staff to seek funding from upper levels of government.
According to an RDNO press release “the system would serve residents and businesses in the proposed service area, which includes portions of RDNO Electoral Areas “B” and “C”, the Township of Spallumcheen’s south-east industrial area, and parts of OKIB IR4 north of Swan Lake. The wastewater recovery facility could potentially be located on L&A Cross Road in Spallumcheen, where the Township recently purchased a 2.5 acre site.”
The project is contingent on grant funding.
The partners are seeking $24.3 million from the federal Investing in Canada Infrastructure program, that would be 66 percent of the $36.9 million cost.
The remaining amount is proposed to be funded through the Okanagan Basin Water Board Sewerage Facilities Assistance Grant ($5.9 million), Township of Spallumcheen reserves ($1.5 million) and RDNO borrowing ($5.2 million).
Funding is also contingent on a successful petition of RDNO Electoral Area “B” and “C” residents and businesses within the proposed service area. The petition will be used to confirm support for the project and borrowing of $5.2 million. The petition will be available in the near future.
“This partnership is critical to advancing the environmental protection of our lake and our drinking water,” says OKIB Chief Byron Louis. “It’s great to be working with our neighbours. More funding opportunities arise when small governments stop competing for provincial and federal grant dollars and start collaborating.”
“While we recognize there is still much to be done, we’re inspired by so many potential benefits for our residents, businesses, and the environment,” says RDNO board chair and Electoral Area “B” director Bob Fleming.
“We are excited to see the positive movement on this,” says Spallumcheen Mayor Janice Brown. “We’ve seen water quality challenges, lack of water for our farmers, and economic opportunities missed. This system will help fix those problems.”