Central Okanagan  

Communities flush with improvements

"The champagne flutes were filled with clean, cold and clear water and raised in a toast to celebrate the completion of the newest Regional District of Central Okanagan water system," reports Bruce Smith, Communications & Intergovernmental Affairs Officer for the Regional District of Central Okanagan.

Members of the community gathered Tuesday to officially open the Upper Fintry, Shalal Road and Valley of the Sun water system.  Since construction of the water mains was completed in the spring, more than 50 properties have been connected, with another dozen in various stages of the connection process.

The subdivisions located off Westside Road were previously without access to a community water supply and sufficient water pressure for full protection against fire.

"Thanks to this project more Westside residents now have access to a safe, reliable drinking water," said Dan Albas, Member of Parliament for Okanagan-Coquihalla. "Our government will continue to invest in local infrastructure priorities as we focus on creating jobs, supporting growth and building strong, prosperous communities."

"This community water system brings both reliability and increased fire safety to residents living in the Upper Fintry, Shalal Road and Valley of the Sun subdivisions," said Ben Stewart, Member of Legislative Assembly for Kelowna Westside. "The grants provided to the Regional District through Towns for Tomorrow and Canada's Gas Tax Fund for this project helped this area address its infrastructure needs while creating jobs and supporting the economy."

The Regional District received a total of $800,000 in funding to help offset the cost of building the new water system, including $407,500 from the federal Gas Tax Fund and $400,000 from the provincial government's Towns for Tomorrow funding program.  Property owners within the water service area contributed or financed $17,230 each.

In addition to new water mains, a new well and pump station was built to support the system in the lower Fintry Delta area. As well, various control buildings and two reservoirs, with a total storage capacity of 1,746 cubic metres of water, were also constructed.

"This new $6-million water system, the sixth operated and maintained by the Regional District, saw the installation of approximately 12 kilometres of water mains providing both treated water and fire flows to more than 340 properties in the three areas," said Robert Hobson, Regional District Chair. "None of these properties have ever had domestic water service and residents have had to make their own arrangements to get water."

The Regional District currently operates and maintains five additional water systems servicing more than 800 properties in the Sunset Ranch, Westshores, Killiney Beach, Falcon Ridge and Trepanier areas.

Canada's Gas Tax Fund provides stable, long-term funding to local governments to help them build and revitalize public infrastructure. In December 2011, the Government of Canada passed legislation to make the Gas Tax Fund a permanent annual investment of $2 billion per year.

"A key outcome of the federal Gas Tax Fund is to see investments in projects such as this one in the Central Okanagan that result in cleaner water for BC residents," said UBCM President Mary Sjostrom. "The Union of BC Municipalities is pleased to see the completion of new local government infrastructure projects aimed at securing clean reliable drinking water systems."

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