The Quathiaski Cove Sewer System could get an upgrade if the Strathcona Regional District (SRD) is approved for a grant from the Union of B.C. Municipalities.
The SRD approved a bylaw on April 15 to authorize the borrowing of around $830,000 to upgrade the system. Those funds are the local share of a total $3.1 million needed to replace the plant. The district has to pay for about 27 per cent of the total cost of the project to meet the criteria. The other 73.33 per cent is covered by both the Government of Canada and the Province of British Columbia at 40 per cent and 33.33 per cent respectively.
“The bylaw is intended to be something that we needed to do to have a grant application looked at seriously by UBCM, which looks after the funding for these infrastructure projects,” said SRD corporate services manager Tom Yates. “without that assurance by having a bylaw, the application would just be tossed out.”
Originally brought to the board’s attention in January, the SRD board applied for the Green Infrastructure grant to bring the aging facility up to modern standards. A staff report from January describes the sewage treatment facility at Quathiaski Cove as “well beyond its service life and is becoming more problematic and costly to maintain.”
“The risk of failure of the plant has become high, with environmental impact being the key concern with regards to service interruption,” it continued.
In the last quarter of 2019, the district spent $26,000 on emergency repairs to the facility.
The board had agreed to apply for the grant in January. As part of the grant requirements, the board needs to commit to funding its share of the costs of the project. That share has to be funded locally to the area, which in this case is Quadra Island.
The April 15 bylaw authorizes the board to obtain the funds necessary for the project. Yates explained that there are multiple avenues to raise the funds, including from the taxpayers on the island or by a tax requisition from users of the service. All options presented would have to be approved by those affected by the taxation increase.
“[It shows that] we’re not just kicking tires,” he said. “How long it’ll be before we hear back, I’m not too sure. Once that happens of course the board will have to decide what it wishes to do in terms of their share.”
The district will wait to hear back about their application before moving forward with the project.