Water-system issue goes to petition

Black Pines residents will decide by petition if they want to approve a plan for a new $1.3-million water intake and treatment system.

Peter Hughes, environmental services director for the Thompson-Nicola Regional District, told a meeting of about 30 residents Tuesday night, Oct. 28, that a consultant had looked at three possible locations for a new intake but the original proposal — at the south end of the water-service area — was still the best and the cheapest.

Hughes said the location is the most stable of the three spots on the turbid North Thompson River and an intake there should last 25 to 30 years. Residents at the meeting were unhappy about the failure of past attempts to solve the water-system problem, and about the projected cost of the new upgrades, but Hughes said the last project was an attempt to “fit a Cadillac into a Volkswagen budget.”

He added, “It’s water under the bridge.”

Costing for the new project is based on an assumption it will be eligible for federal-provincial infrastructure funding that would pay two-thirds of the bill. Residents within the community water system area would pay the rest — either $10,952 up front or around $1,000 a year for 20 years on their annual tax bills.

When Hughes asked for a show of hands, it appeared slightly over half agreed to go ahead with a petition (although few hands were raised in opposition), which would need support from half the 42 property owners with a combined assessment of 50 per cent of all properties in the service area for approval.

If the petition, expected to be distributed early next year, succeeds, the next step would be to apply to the Building Canada Fund for funding. If that’s obtained, design and construction would take place in 2016-2017.

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