Canal Flats completes major water upgrades

Residents in Canal Flats have less than a month before they can start tasting the benefits of the new water system upgrade.

Residents in Canal Flats, Eagle’s Nest and Painted Ridge have less than a month to wait before they can start tasting the benefits of a major water system upgrade project.

The upgrades will be completed on August 16th, after a full disinfection procedure is done on each home.

Brian Woodward, the Village of Canal Flats’ chief financial officer, said the project is the biggest the village has taken on since being incorporated in 2004. The project cost a total of $2.7 million.

“We (received) $400,000 from the province through their Towns for Tomorrow program,” Woodward said. “The rest is $2.3 million, which the village borrowed. (Residents) will pay it off over the next 30 years.”

The merged water system will bring potable water to Eagle’s Nest and Painted Ridge for the first time, effectively meeting the provincial standards set out in the Drinking Water Protection Act of 2006.

In the village proper, the biggest change for residents will be the increased water pressure and the adequate reserves for fighting fires in the area.

“There was a major construction of a new reservoir as well,” Woodward said.

According to Woodward, the project is under budget due to a few changes to the original plans.

Instead of the independent contractor providing emergency backup units for the system, the village’s engineers took on the job, which saved $40,000.

In addition, while connecting power from the old pump house to the new one, BC Hydro elected to go over the road, rather than under, which saved another $30,000.

“Those savings will be utilized for an upgrade of the pump house,” Woodward said. “There is always something else to do, so we will use up the whole $2.7 million.”

In the long run, the system merger will save the village an estimated total of $335,000.

Still, the project will cost Canal Flats residents a flat rate of $275 per year over 30 years to cover the $2.3

million loan.

Had council not been able to pass two bylaws to propel the project forward during the summer of 2013, the province could have fined the village up to $100,000 per day.

According to Woodward, the province would have forced compliance anyway, which would have come at a far larger fee for residents, who would have been stuck with a higher parcel tax to cover the upgrade’s costs and the penalty fees.

Woodward said he is happy with how the project has progressed, noting the relatively tight timeline the village had to work with to get the water up to provincial standards by the end of this summer.

“We are just in the last final stages of completing everything,” Woodward said. “The system will be fully operational, functional and commissioned on August 16th.”