A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed this week by the Regional District of North Okanagan (RDNO), Township of Spallumcheen, and Okanagan Indian Band (OKIB) that will help the jurisdictions move toward construction of a wastewater recovery system.

The system would serve residents and businesses in the proposed service area, which includes portions of RDNO electoral areas, 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.

“This partnership is critical to advancing the environmental protection of our lake and our drinking water,” said 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.”

Left to right: RDNO director Mike Macnabb, Chief Byron Louis, Spallumcheen Mayor Janice Brown, and RDNO director Bob Fleming . Image Credit: RDNO.

Next, the project partners will look to secure funding to undertake the work. They have agreed that the project is contingent on grant funding and will be submitting a grant application to the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program.

“We are extremely honoured to partner with the Township of Spallumcheen and OKIB on making this project a reality,” said RDNO board chair Bob Fleming.  “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.”

The requested grant amount of $24.3 million represents approximately 66 per cent of the $36.9 million total project 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).

“We are excited to see the positive movement on this,” said 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.”

Funding is also contingent on a successful petition from the RDNO electoral areas’ 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.

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