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Upgrades coming for Fernie’s wastewater treatment system

Funding to upgrade Fernie
Funding to upgrade Fernie's wastewater system was announced on Friday. From left: Kootenay-Columbia MP David Wilks, Fernie Mayor Mary Giuliano, past UCBM president Heath Slee, and Kootenay East MLA Bill Bennett.
— image credit: N. Liebermann

Thanks to just over $650,000 in funding from the federal government, the Elk River is looking at a more environmentally friendly future. The City of Fernie has received $652,800 from the Gas Tax Fund to improve their wastewater treatment system that outflows into the Elk River.

Kootenay East MLA Bill Bennett said the project is an important step in upgrading Fernie’s infrastructure.

“I do want to draw attention to the fact that this is an outflow into the Elk River and it is obviously of paramount importance that how that works is up to the highest Canadian and British Columbian standards possible,” commented Bennett. “I think this money will bring that outflow up to those high standards.”

The upgrades will allow for a more effective way to discharge treated wastewater into the Elk River, helping the City to preserve the water quality and health of the main channel river.

Between 2007 and 2014, British Columbia will receive more than $1.48 billion from the Canadian Government’s Gas Tax Fund to improve local infrastructure. The Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) oversees and administers the Gas Tax Fund within the province.

“Today’s announcement is a good example of why programs like the Gas Tax Fund are so important to B.C. communities,” explained Heath Slee, past president of the UBCM. “There are standards that all communities in B.C. are required to meet for water and waste water systems. The Gas Tax Fund is helping communities to comply with those standards by transferring federal revenue into these projects. That means communities can make needed improvements sooner than would otherwise be possible.”

He added, “This is good for the economy, it’s good for public health and safety, and it’s good for our environment.”

The total cost of the project is over $1 million, with the City of Fernie funding the remaining $163,200.

 

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