Burns Lake’s water tower on Fifth Avenue was replaced for the last time in 1975. Although the outer protective coating of the tower was refurbished in 2011

Burns Lake’s water tower on Fifth Avenue was replaced for the last time in 1975. Although the outer protective coating of the tower was refurbished in 2011

Water tower project moves forward

A new funding will save Burns Lake hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The Village of Burns Lake was awarded just over $2 million to complete the replacement of its water tower on Fifth Avenue. The last time the water tower was replaced was 1975.

Although the outer protective coating of the tower was refurbished in 2011 – expanding the lifespan of the tower by an additional 10 years -, the tower could start leaking if it’s not replaced over the next few years.

The federal and provincial governments recently signed a bilateral agreement, making more than $450.1 million in combined funding available under the clean water and wastewater fund. Buns Lake’s water tower replacement project was one of the initial 35 approved projects under the fund.

The fund allows the village to contribute only 17 per cent towards the total cost of the project, instead of the typical 33 per cent. This means that the village will only have to contribute $450,500 towards the $2.65 million project, as opposed to $874,500.

According to Sheryl Worthing, Chief Administrative Officer for the Village of Burns Lake, this means the village will need less money of its own capital reserve funds to complete the project, saving approximately $424,000.

The next step is for the village send a request for proposal out to B.C. Bid. Construction on the water tower is expected to begin in spring/summer 2017.

The water tower will be built beside the existing tower.

“Once it [the tower] is complete we will turn the water off temporarily to tie in the new tower and disconnect the old tower,” explained Worthing. “This process should only take a few hours.”

“We will use about two-thirds of the water in the existing tower, pump out the remaining water into our storm drain system and then take it [the tower] down,” she added.

According to the federal government, investing in local infrastructure helps ensure that Canadians have access to clean and reliable drinking water, efficient wastewater systems, and healthy rivers and lakes.

This agreement represents the largest local government infrastructure program in over 15 years in British Columbia.

Peter Fassbender, Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development, said this agreement is an example of another successful partnership with the Government of Canada that will benefit all British Columbians.

“The clean water and wastewater fund will enable local governments to meet immediate priorities in critical infrastructure while supporting a cleaner and healthier environment for communities across B.C.,” he said.

The federal government is providing up to 50 per cent of this funding, amounting to more than $225 million for projects while the provincial government will invest more than $148.5 million