UPDATED: $5.6 million in funding announced for Big Eddy Waterworks

City of Revelstoke receives funding for $5.6 million Big Eddy Waterworks upgrades.

Mayor Mark McKee (left) and MP David Wilks make a $5.4 million funding announcement to upgrade the Big Eddy Works on the steps of Revelstoke city hall Friday morning.

The City of Revelstoke will receive funding to upgrade the Big Eddy Waterworks, but first it will need electoral approval to move ahead.

David Wilks, the MP for Kootenay-Columbia, joined Mayor Mark McKee on the steps of the Second Street entrance to city hall to make the funding announcement.

“This project is going to not only ensure the quality of the water of the Big Eddy is even better than it is today, but it’s going to also increase the quantity that’s available,” said Mayor Mark McKee, speaking from the steps of the Second Street entrance to city hall. “Development will be able to move forward unhampered. I’m looking forward to great things happening in the Big Eddy water district.”

The three levels of government will each contribute about $1.9 million for the upgrades. The city portion will be borne by the property owners in the Big Eddy, should they vote to go ahead with the works.

The Big Eddy Waterworks requires upgrades in order to meet Interior Health safety standards, and to meet city fire flow requirements.

The project will include upgrades to water mains, installation of a real-time monitoring system, and construction of a third well and second reservoir.

McKee said he hopes to put the matter to a vote in the Big Eddy by the end of the year. The city still has to decide if it will hold a referendum, or if they’ll opt for an alternate approval process, in which at least 10 per cent of property owners would have to express opposition to the spending in order to trigger a referendum.

“If the Big Eddy residents are in favour and the referendum is successful, there’s no reason this project can’t be going sometime in the spring and early summer and be completed as quickly as possible,” said McKee.

A map of the Big Eddy Waterworks. Image from the MMM Group/City of Revelstoke.

Mike Thomas, the city’s director of engineering, said they would be working on a design so the project can go out for tender in the spring of 2016, if the spending is approved

George Buhler, a member of the Big Eddy Waterworks Board of Directors, said it wasn’t certain the spending would be approved by the Big Eddy.

“The Big Eddy can’t afford to pay for a third of the money. That’s impossible,” he said following the announcement. “I can say standing here that won’t happen.”

A report on the Big Eddy Waterworks by the MMM Group says property owners will have to pay about $300 per year to cover their share of the upgrades — an amount that will increase by three per cent every year. Commercial and industrial property owners would have to pay $464 and $1,547 respectively.

The funding comes from the Government of Canada’s Small Community Fund, with the provincial government and city both matching the spending. Both senior levels of government are contributing $1,892,677, with the city responsible for the rest.

“I congratulate Mayor McKee on his council on securing this funding,” said MP Wilks.

You can read the January 2015 report by the MMM Group below.

Big Eddy Waterworks Report by AlexCooperRTR

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