ROBERT BARRON CITIZEN
The Municipality of North Cowichan hopes to cover most of its financial contribution towards a major sewer project through government grants.
The municipality is applying for $12 million from two federal sources for the approximately $24.5-million project to move the Joint Utilities Board treated effluent outfall from the Cowichan River to Satellite Channel.
The funding requests are split evenly between the UCBM/Federal Gas Tax Priorities Fund and the Build Canada Fund.
Mayor Jon Lefebure said the municipality is responsible for paying 53.7 per cent of the entire cost of the project, while the Cowichan Valley Regional District, City of Duncan and Cowichan Tribes are required to provide the rest.
Each group uses the outfall system as part of their sewage infrastructure, with each responsible to pay for the percentage of the system they use.
“[North Cowichan] has already raised approximately $10 million for the project through development cost charges and our reserve funds,” Lefebure said.
“If we receive the entire $12 million we requested in grants, we can use much of the money that we raised for other purposes.”
Lefebure said the project would begin very shortly after successful funding announcements from the two funds.
“There are usually limited timelines to use the funding, so I expect we’d get on it right away,” he said.
“But if we don’t get any grants, we’d have to explore other funding options, and that may take some time.”
The treated effluent outfall system must be moved out of the Cowichan River for a couple of reasons.
The planned move is a condition of the lease agreement with Cowichan Tribes and, second, low river flows during increasingly dry summers threaten the outfall, as do high flows that can cause damage during other times of the year.