Fruitvale pursues funding for waste-water plant upgrades

Village of Fruitvale goes after grant funding from COVID infrastructure stream

The Village of Fruitvale is accessing the COVID grant in an ongoing effort to update its waste water treatment plant.

The Canada Infrastructure Program’s COVID-19 Resilience Infrastructure Stream (CVRIS) commits to projects under $10M that provides retrofits, repairs and upgrades to local and indigenous governments buildings, health and educational infrastructure.

“The waste water treatment, it’s just ongoing, we have to dump money into that steady,” said Fruitvale Mayor Steve Morissette. “The regulations keep tightening up, and you have to keep updating and improving the effluent that we put out of it into Beaver Creek.”

According to a village report, council is applying for funds to complete work on the grit management equipment in the headworks building, and improve lift station overflow, screening in lagoon 2, outlet capacity and CH4 passive overflow in the sewage treatment plant.

“Upgrades to the infrastructure will improve the quality of the Village’s sewer treatment and increase the Village’s resiliency in preventing the spread of COVID-19 and other communicable diseases, while also taking steps towards environmental protection,” read the Jan. 11 report to council.

Regardless of whether the village is successful in obtaining the grant, rates for waste-water system user fees will continue their incremental rise, and go up $50 again in 2021. Residents’ solid-waste tax for garbage collection will also increase 2 per cent, and the cost of garbage bags went up from $4.10 to $4.20 this year.

“We’ve found that over the past few decades, our user fees for the waste water and actually garbage, they weren’t covering the actual costs of the services so general taxation had to subsidize them to keep them going,” explained Morissette. “So we did an annual graduated increase, and I think we have two more years on the waste water before the user fees will be covering the costs.”

As for the grant, on Dec. 1 the federal and provincial governments committed $80.29-M to fund projects across the province. The projects will be selected based on merit and must be ready to launch by Sept. 30, 2021 and completed Dec. 31, 2021. If successful, CVRIS may cover up to 80 per cent of the costs for ugrades to Fruitvale’s waste-water facility.

The applications that show a clear connection to the program’s criteria and objectives, demonstrate the principles of sustainability, and are supported by strong planning to ensure sustainable service delivery will get first consideration.

The report says that the village’s waste-water plant project is shovel ready and can begin as soon as funding becomes available.

Plans for design of the sewer infrastructure were commissioned through Urban Systems in 2017. As the project planner, Urban Systems will assist with the grant application to ensure the application has included all technical requirements.

And like many municipal grants, the village needs money to get money to show you’re invested in the project.

“We’re trying to get the village on sustainable ground, where it’s able to pay its way, and we’re able to put aside some capital reserves,” added Morissette. “Most of them are not 100 per cent grants, so you need to have some skin in the game, because if you don’t have any money, you can’t even get grants.”

Read more: Fruitvale to lease middle school land to affordable housing society


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