Funding has been announced to upgrade the water filtration system for the Greater Vernon area.

“Today’s announcement of over $16.3 million from the federal government will support the Greater Vernon Area’s goals to upgrade its water filtration system and provide reliable services to local residents,” said Catherine McKenna, minister of infrastructure and communities. “In partnership with B.C., we continue to invest in critical infrastructure, building greener, healthier, and more resilient communities, and supporting local economies at a time when it is needed most.”

The project will see the construction of a new water filtration facility at the Mission Hill water treatment plant. This facility will help improve water quality and increase access to clean drinking water in the community. The project includes a new water filtration system, a new building for labs and control rooms, and upgrades to waste-stream handling, related piping and equipment. It also includes upgrades to the electrical, mechanical and control systems.

“Clean drinking water is one of the most important priorities for any community,” said Harwinder Sandhu, member of British Columbia’s Legislative Assembly for Vernon-Monashee. “I’m glad to see all levels of government working together to ensure that the Greater Vernon Area will have access to clean water and be able to limit boil water advisories, supporting people’s health and wellbeing.”

The Government of Canada and the Province of British Columbia are investing close to $30 million in this project through the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program’s Green Infrastructure Stream. Canada is contributing more than $16.3 million, B.C.’s is contributing more than $13.6 million, and the Regional District of North Okanagan is investing over $10.9 million. Federal and provincial funding is conditional on fulfilling all requirements related to consultation with Indigenous groups and environmental assessment requirements

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“We are extremely thankful for this support,” said Kevin Acton, chair of the Regional District of North Okanagan Board of Directors. “This filtration plant is especially crucial in light of the major challenges facing our water supply.”

“We have already seen climate change impacts, such as the high algae levels in the fall of 2020 and the increasing frequency of floods that bring sediment plumes to our intake,” added Acton. “The Boil Water Notice from the historic 2017 flood resulted in economic losses of over $2 million, just in terms of the drinking water needs of our residents and businesses, on top of the major health risk to our most vulnerable citizens. There are many factors beyond our control that make filtration a necessity for safe drinking water.”

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