By David F. Rooney
Upgrading the Big Eddy Water Waterworks is likely going to cost about $5.9 million, one third of which likely must be borne by the community, says a report prepared for the City by MMM Group Ltd., the consultancy hired by Council just before the November election.
The other two-thirds could be paid for by the province and the federal government if the City makes a successful application for federal-provincial funding.
During its regular meeting on Tuesday, January 27, Council approved a recommendation that it immediately apply for funding through the Small Communities Fund under the federal New Building Canada Fund. The Small Communities Fund has approximately $160 million available in 2015 for BC communities with populations under 100,000 that require infrastructure improvements.
Mayor Mark McKee said that while there is no guarantee that Revelstoke will receive the funding it needs, he believes that because this is a vital water project the City likely will end up “higher on the list of priorities” than many other projects
Council also agreed that its one-third share of the eligible project costs and the full cost of all ineligible costs be included in the City’s Financial Plan, which is to be developed by Council over the next couple of months. All costs will be recovered by the City through a capital charge on the users of the subject water utility. That works out to $309 for each residential taxpayer in the Big Eddy, $464 for commercial operations and $1,547 per industry. There are about 30 commercial and industrial operations in the Big Eddy.
A referendum or use of the Alternate Approval Process will be required for any borrowing and for the transfer of ownership of the Big Eddy Water Utility to the City within six months of receiving grant approval for the project.
Municipal staff will also be directed to schedule meetings with the Big Eddy Water Utility and their users including public meetings to discuss the proposed plan.
“The Big Eddy water system provides service to approximately 750 residents and several businesses, as well as fire protection for the community,” says the MMM report, which was presented to Council by Engineering and Development Services Director Mike Thomas.
“Water supply is provided to the system from two wells at the west end of the area. Water is pumped into the distribution system and up to an above-ground reservoir through a non-dedicated main. The reservoir then feeds water by gravity back into the distribution system. The system was initiated in 1956 and there have since been extensive improvements, including the wells, reservoir and reservoir supply main, which were installed in 1980.”
It said components of the system are aging and/or undersized and require upgrading to bring them up to contemporary standards. It was that realization that helped prompt the Big Eddy Waterworks board of directors to ask the City for assistance late last summer.
MMM’s comprehensive report calls for construction of a new reservoir, the upsizing of some existing water mains and the construction of new ones.
The consultants also recommended the installation of a “supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system.”
“This central system would ideally be located within/near the existing pump houses and have connections to various meters, monitors and alarms throughout the system,” the report said. “These would include items such as flow and water level meters, quality monitors, and intrusion alarms installed at both the pump houses and the reservoir. The system would require the ability for remote access to allow operators to monitor and control the system from offsite. In conjunction with this upgrade, the existing pump houses should be upgraded to allow for connection to a generator in the event of a power outage. This project would cost about $70,000 and should be installed as soon as possible “to improve the operations and reliability of the system.
“The City should also consider instituting water metering to monitor consumption, particularly for commercial and industrial users.”
Please click here to read the report in its entirety.
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