Grants ease burden for Fruitvale taxpayers

Another local community has greatly benefited from the recent $148.5 million bump in provincial dollars for infrastructure projects.

The Village of Fruitvale has received a $1.5 million grant to improve its sewer system and treatment plant.

The Village of Fruitvale has received a $1.5 million grant to improve its sewer system and treatment plant.

Another local community has greatly benefited from the recent $148.5 million bump in provincial dollars for the new Clean Water and Wastewater Fund.

The Village of Fruitvale received $1.55 million, an amount that will drastically unburden taxpayers for costs related to sewer main and treatment plant improvements.

Approved projects like the village’s infrastructure upgrades are cost shared 50 per cent by the federal government, 33 per cent by the province and local government covers the remaining 17 per cent.

The total project is $1.87 million, leaving Fruitvale taxpayers on the hook for $317,050 after the province kicks in just over $615,000 and the Government of Canada, $932,500.

“This 1.5 million dollar grant is significant for our community and taxpayers,” said Fruitvale Mayor Patricia Cecchini.

The scope of work includes replacement of a failing pipe bridge crossing on the south side of town, and replacement of the gravity main adjacent to the railway, which is the main connection for two thirds of the village’s waste.

Upgrades at the sewer treatment plant include screening, grit removal and classification equipment replacement.

The work follows a 2012 study that had Fruitvale re-evaluating the cost and benefits of participating in the regional liquid waste plan, explained Cecchini.

“(The) conclusion was that the village would maintain control over their own system and continue to upgrade in a phased manner.”

The first phase, which was paid for by a $610,000 Federal Strategic Priorities Gas Tax Grant, included an environmental study, design and supply of influent and effluent metering, and all electrical, mechanical, construction and civil engineering works.

The second phase of work was also covered by a $489,000 federal gas tax grant.

“As you can see, with this grant, we are over $2.6 million in grants towards our sewer upgrades and so far the village cost is $317,050,” Cecchini added. “We are deeply grateful to the other orders of government that have made it possible to upgrade our facility in a financially manageable way for the taxpayers.”

B.C. Premier Christy Clark announced the new Clean Water and Wastewater (CWWF) fund during last month’s Union of BC Municipalities meetings.

The CWWF is an infrastructure program to enable critical investment in local government infrastructure to get underway, specifically support long term benefits in the rehabilitation of water, wastewater and stormwater systems, and for the planning and design of future facilities and upgrades to existing wastewater systems.

Funding arrangements are underway for another big infrastructure project in Fruitvale this one involves extensive repairs to Davis Avenue and, as funds permit, Evergreen Avenue upgrades and/or Pine Avenue paving.

The project is expected to cost upward of $2 million, the village is currently seeking a loan authorization for $2.5 million through the Alternative Approval Process (AAP).

The AAP winds up on Friday and council can then adopt the loan bylaw unless 10 per cent, or more, eligible electors counter-petition the process before 4 p.m. that day.

The cost of the borrowing per average residential household taxation is estimated at $150 annually.

Notably, the project is only in its scoping report stage.

“Full design phase will occur after the project borrowing is in place,” clarified Chief Administrative Officer Lila Cresswell. “At that time all the options and costs will be more closely developed.”

The Davis Avenue project was a standout public concern during the last civic election and since that time the matter remained a council priority.









On top of road deterioration, use of Davis Avenue has increased over time.

The roadway currently feeds into 27 properties on the avenue itself, 20 homes on Caughlin Road, a 53-unit senior’s care facility, and an area with potential for 20 duplexes (10 currently occupied, 10 not yet constructed).