West Kelowna  

$4.9M for water system

The federal government has stepped up for a second time to help the District of Peachland with a new water treatment plant.

At a news conference Friday morning, Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola MP Dan Albas announced Ottawa will provide Peachland with $4.9 million from the Federal Gas Tax Fund for the Trepanier Creek water system interconnect project.

The district was already going ahead with plans for a new $18.8 million water treatment plant, but Mayor Cindy Fortin said the additional grant will allow it to connect Trepanier users to the system as well.

Fortin was facing the prospect of borrowing the $4.9 million for the connection.

"This grant cut down what we have to borrow by more than half, so it's been such a blessing for this community," said Fortin. "It's going to make it affordable for the residents, and we're going to have clean, safe drinking water for everyone."

Peachland already received $6.96 million in grants from senior levels of government in March of last year for the treatment plant itself. The municipality is kicking in $7.6 million from reserves and will borrow the extra $4.3 million.

"These things can't happen without provincial guidance," said Albas during the announcement.

"Water quality is a provincial responsibility...so, it takes both levels of government to hear what local concerns are."

Penticton Liberal MLA Dan Ashton was also on hand for the announcement. He commended Peachland council for showing both levels of government there was a need.

"With Interior Health's 4, 3, 2, 2, 0 objective, smaller communities are really challenged, and it's incumbent on people like Dan and myself to represent you at our various levels of government to get that put across ... especially when other levels of government start imposing restrictions," said Ashton.

Design work on the new treatment plant is already underway. It's expected construction will begin in 2019 which completion in early 2020.

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