North Cowichan is looking for a government grant that, if successful, would pay for most of a planned upgrade at the Crofton sewage treatment plant.
At the council meeting on March 2, council endorsed an application that has already been submitted by staff to the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program Environmental Quality sub-stream for a grant that would fund 73.33 per cent of the total projected $3.5-million cost of the upgrades to the clarifiers at the sewage treatment plant.
Clarifiers are settling tanks built with mechanical means for the continuous removal of solids being deposited by sedimentation.
If the application is successful, it would leave the municipality responsible for $935,000 plus any additional costs that might arise as the project unfolds.
“The ICIP-EQ funding opportunity will allow the utility to undertake required upgrades while maintaining affordability for the users,” said North Cowichan’s director of engineering Clay Reitsma in a report.
“Should council not approve the application, or should the application be unsuccessful, staff will bring alternate funding options, including borrowing, forward for council’s consideration.”
The clarifier project at the Crofton sewage treatment plant was presented to council during the recent review of the municipality’s utility budgets.
As the total project cost is approximately $3.5 million over three years, staff advised council at the time that funding options would need to be further considered as more detailed cost information became available.
Reitsma said when Canada and the province announced a third intake of the ICIP-EQ program, staff reviewed North Cowichan’s five-year financial plan to identify projects that fit the grant criteria, that would most benefit from additional financial assistance, and that was well defined enough to meet the application deadline.
“The Crofton clarifier project, which is listed in the Crofton sewer utility five-year plan, most closely meets the funding program requirements in that it fits the grant criteria, the utility can benefit from additional financial assistance, and it is well defined,” he said.
At the council meeting, Coun. Rosalie Sawrie thanked staff for doing the research and choosing the Crofton project for the grant application.
“Looking at Crofton’s sewage rates, this is a great opportunity to alleviate some of the burden on the tax payers,” she said.
Council voted unanimously to endorse the application for the grant.