Port Alberni and the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District have struck a deal for the city to provide water to Beaver Creek. The fruits of that agreement were evident on Tuesday with the official opening of a new pump station on Strick Road.
“The city and regional district have entered into an agreement for the supply of bulk water,” ACRD chair and city councillor Cindy Solda said. “The agreement provides for additional revenues to be invested in the city’s waterworks and sustainable costs to the Beaver Creek water service area with increased treatment and a plan to satisfy the Island Health requirements.”
The pump station pumps city water into the Beaver Creek Water System. Its opening is the culmination of $1.55 million in gas tax monies spent on infrastructure works for Beaver Creek. This includes the addition of a new Kitsuksis Reservoir and an upgraded watermain on Strick Road.
Alberni-Pacific Rim MLA Scott Fraser praised the communities for working together to solve Beaver Creek’s water issues.
“Having the (old) improvement district work so closely with the regional district and city is impressive,” he said, drinking some water.
“This is going to help attract more people here. The facility’s modern and the water is good.”
Beaver Creek regional director John McNabb said this is a turning point for Beaver Creek’s water system, and it brings them closer to compliance with the province’s 4-3-2-1 safe drinking water program. He acknowledged there will be growing pains along the way.
“There’s a lot of ownership when you’ve got miles and miles of infrastructure you’re dealing with,” he said. “We’re going to have to be flexible, we’re going to have to be realistic…and we’re going to have to be futuristic.”
Providing water to Beaver Creek represents about 10 per cent of the city’s water supply, municipal engineer Guy Cicon said. “Our watershed catchment and supply system is sufficient to handle the additional approximately 1,000 customers.
“I think there’s the capacity to handle Cherry Creek as well,” he said.
The investment in the Beaver Creek water system is part of the ACRD’s 2013 Regional Water Improvement Project, a commitment of $2.2 million in gas tax funds to critical infrastructure upgrades to its community water systems.
Other approved ACRD projects include interconnection of the Millstream Water System with the District of Ucluelet for an emergency backup supply; well development and water effluent treatment for the Long Beach Airport Water System, to proceed in the fall of 2014 (this system provides for the airport as well as the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation); distribution improvements and treatment works for the Bamfield Water System; upgrades to Cherry Creek watermains; and a commitment of $264,000 if a water supply system is established for the Bell Road Stuart Avenue neighbourhood at Sproat Lake.
The use of gas tax monies to help pay for these projects has helped ease the financial burden on local residents, ACRD chief administrative officer Russell Dyson said.