A wastewater recovery project in the Regional District of North Okanagan has received $24.3 million in federal and provincial funding.
This was one of the significant milestones for the project, which has been four years in the making. The project has faced multiple hurdles due to the complex undertaking of creating an infrastructure asset that will benefit three jurisdictions in different ways for generations to come.
The announcement was made at an event on September 12. It brought together the partner jurisdictions that have worked to get the project to where it is today, the staff and consultants that have assisted along the way, and the community that has enthusiastically supported the concept of the Wastewater Recovery Project.
The project partners (Regional District of North Okanagan, Township of Spallumcheen, and the Okanagan Indian Band) had been clear with the public and stakeholders from the beginning – without this grant money, the project not be able to move forward.
“Money like this doesn’t normally come here,” said Amanda Shatzko, Electoral Area C Director at the Regional District of North Okanagan (RDNO). “It goes to the Lower Mainland, it goes to the Central and South Okanagan but it often doesn’t come to the North Okanagan.”
In speaking to the importance of reclaiming water for agricultural use, Mayor Fraser told the crowd about one year in Spallumcheen that saw “over 1,000 acres lose all of their forage crops due to a shortage of water. With the new Wastewater Recovery Project, over 600 acres of irrigation water for farming will be provided, which is an enormous benefit to our farmers.”
“It’s believed that about 50 businesses have been turned away over the last 15 years because of a lack of sewer,” said Bob Fleming, Electoral Area B Director at RDNO. “The benefits will drive our economy for years to come.”
“I always ask people, what’s the actual value of your property without water? It isn’t much. When you start looking at water through that lens, it’s worth every effort to protect our water through holding ourselves to the highest standards,” said Byron Louis, Chief of the Okanagan Indian Band. “Investing in water is investing in this community.”
With the grant secured, the project team will begin the planning and engineering work to make the wastewater recovery project a reality. More information can be found here.