A two-year plant upgrade can begin in Montrose after the village was given a $1.84 million thumbs up from the federal government this week.
On Tuesday, the Government of Canada announced that the village was one of 15 British Columbia communities successful in their application for joint federal and provincial grants through the Investing in Canada infrastructure plan and New Building Canada Fund, which collectively pays 73 per cent of costs for municipal water and wastewater improvements.
“This is great news for the Village of Montrose,” Mayor Mike Walsh told the Trail Times. “We applied for the grant and finally received it which, for the taxpayers of Montrose, is a huge financial gain because of the amount of work that has to be done. The old system needs to be upgraded, and hasn’t been upgraded in years.”
What this approval means for the $2.63-million project, is that the federal government will pay 40 per cent or just over $1 million, the province will fund 33 per cent or $836,000, and Montrose taxpayers will cover the remaining 27 per cent, or $794,000.
“We are estimating that the project will be completed in the fall of 2021,” Chief Administrative Officer Larry Plotnikoff told the Times. “The village has its portion in reserve funds. The village’s reserves are very healthy at this point and can readily handle that commitment.”
Modernizing the municipal wastewater treatment facility has been at the forefront of council for a number of years because the service, built in the 1960’s, was in need of a much more efficient, environmentally sound, and safe operation.
“What’s interesting is that my dad was mayor of Montrose when they put in the sewage treatment plant, and now all these years later we are upgrading it, the original one,” Walsh said.
Back in the day, the treatment plant operation was a hands-on job. Even with some improvements completed over time, there are still issues with health and safety on the work site.
“Everything was done manually back then,” Walsh explained. “We (currently) have a screening process, and all the effluent goes through this screening process. Our workers have to manually clean out the screens, which is not the greatest job to do,” he added.
“We could have done this project by borrowing the money, but it would have come at such a huge cost for residents. So this way Larry (Plotnikoff) applied for the grant and received it, and it will really help us out for years to come.”
The government stated the project will upgrade the existing wastewater treatment plant to increase operator feedback, improve effluence quality, and address health and safety concerns.
The City of Rossland was also successful in its funding bid. The municipality will receive $1 million from the federal government toward water treatment plant improvements as well as $855,000 from the province. That leaves 27 per cent, or $684,000, for Rossland taxpayers to cover.
The Regional District of Kootenay Boundary applied for joint federal and provincial financial backing as well, to upgrade the Columbia Pollution Control Centre, the sewage treatment plant for Trail, Rossland and Warfield. That project, estimated at $52-million was not on the recipient list released by the government on Aug. 27.