Kimberley voters will be asked to yea or nay to the city borrowing up to $35 million for replacement of the waste water treatment plant in a referendum as part of the municipal election this week.
Mayor Don McCormick, who is unopposed in this election, has been taking to social media to get all the facts out, so voters can make as informed a decision as possible.
“Here are a few of the most relevant facts about the Wastewater Treatment Facility. As you read through these, it becomes obvious why we are at the point in Kimberley history where a replacement is needed.
• Constructed in 1967 (55 years old)
• Upgraded/expanded in 1979 (12,000 resident design)
• Current population is 8,115 and growing at approximately 1+% per year
• Identified as ‘likely highest risk” plant in the East Kootenay’ by Ministry of Environment
• Recent inspections by the MOE resulted in operational solutions being imposed.
These facilities are complex. In 2017, a $2,187,880 grant was secured to develop a detailed design for the construction of a new facility. $2 million plus for design should provide a good idea of how complex this is. This was funded 100 per cent by the Province of BC.
• The facility is located on the flood plain of the St. Mary River, an environmental disaster waiting to happen;
• The river is home to several fish species including the endangered Westslope cutthroat trout and Kokanee salmon;
• The discharge is up-stream of several communities, including Aq’am (Ktunaxa community of 400);
• With no redundancy as required by the Ministry, there are warnings of significant fines from the Ministry;
• Attracting and retaining staff to run an aging facility is an issue.
The City of Kimberley, in conjunction with our consulting engineers Urban Systems, has been doing detailed planning for the past 5 years or so. We have considered all possible solutions and have chosen this as the best solution for delivery of this most critical of City services.”