North Okanagan’s Swan Lake area received a major boost with the announcement of a $24.3 million grant from the Investing in Canada infrastructure plan for construction of the North Okanagan Wastewater Recovery System.
“This project has huge benefits for the entire region, especially for sustaining local agriculture,” said Mayor Christine Fraser from the Township of Spallumcheen. “The highly treated wastewater will provide much-needed relief for our farmers during the hot, dry summers. And the only way we could achieve the many benefits this project offers is with the Investment in Canada Infrastructure grant from our federal and provincial governments, and our partnership with the Okanagan Indian Band and the Regional District of North Okanagan.”
The Government of Canada contributed $13,255,148 for the construction of the new North Okanagan Wastewater Recovery System and the Province of British Columbia contributed $11,044,852. The project will provide homes and businesses with a safe and sustainable wastewater treatment facility and sewer system that will protect Swan Lake water quality, provide reclaimed water for agriculture, enhance recreational opportunities, and support economic development.
The project is the result of a partnership formed in 2015 between the Township of Spallumcheen, the Regional District of North Okanagan, and the Okanagan Indian Band. For the past four years, the partners have been setting the foundation for the success of this project, including conducting environmental and economic impact studies and obtaining community and financial support. While currently planned to service portions of Electoral Areas B and C, the Township of Spallumcheen’s southeast industrial area and Okanagan Indian Band lands within the proposed service area, it will have the ability to expand to meet future growth.
“This substantial grant makes this project a reality and will help us create the future we envision, one that balances environmental protection with economic opportunities,” said Chief Byron Louis from the Okanagan Indian Band. “The partnership has been instrumental to moving the project forward over the past four years and key to ensuring we continue to be stewards of our environment and our economy for future generations.”
The grant funding will cover approximately 66 per cent of the total $36.9 million cost, with the remaining amounts to be funded by Regional District of North Okanagan (RDNO) borrowing ($5.2 million), an Okanagan Basin Water Board grant ($5.9 million), and Township of Spallumcheen reserves ($1.5 million).
The next steps include design, development, tendering and construction of the facility and sewer lines over the next two to three years. The process will be aided by the continued support of the Wastewater Recovery Community Working Group of dedicated community volunteers providing local perspectives as the project moves forward.
More information about the project is available here.