The West Fernie Servicing Project has received $5.4 million from the Government of Canada’s Gas Tax Fund. The investment will go towards the first phase of the community’s efforts to upgrade water and sewer infrastructure.
“This is huge for West Fernie,” commented Electoral A Director Mike Sosnowski. “The environment is most important here and to get the septic fixed in this area especially, right beside the river, I believe is paramount.”
He went on to say, “We have been working with the community for several years to bring this forward and it would not have been possible without all levels of government working together.
“This announcement brings together a total of $7.5 million in benefits for West Fernie in the last five years. It will make needed infrastructure upgrades cost-effective for West Fernie and will be a critical consideration in the upcoming community approval process.”
The West Fernie Servicing Project plans to upgrade a deteriorating water distribution system, construct a community sewer system, and provide storm sewer service in low lying areas. The end goal is to develop sufficient infrastructure in order for West Fernie to become a part of the City of Fernie.
“It’s not so easy to just take West Fernie into the City,” explained Kootenay East MLA Bill Bennett. “Until we get the infrastructure up so that it’s not going to cost the city a fortune, and not going to cost the residents of West Fernie a fortune, that won’t happen. That’s a longer term reason why this is important.”
The community and Electoral Area A’s portion of the Elk Valley Mine Tax Sharing Agreement will provide an additional $400,000 to support the upgrades.
“Infrastructure investments are an important driver of economic growth and job creation, and I am pleased that this project will help protect the environment and the health of East Kootenay residents,” said David Wilks, Kootenay-Columbia MP. “Our government is proud to invest in these service improvements that will help support the growing needs of West Fernie for years to come.”