ARCHIVED - Columbia Shuswap Water System Receives $2.8 million in Federal Funding

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Salmon Arm, British Columbia, February 5, 2009 – The Copperview Haven Water System will receive a comprehensive upgrade and will be transferred to the Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD) thanks to an investment of $2.8 million from the federal Gas Tax Fund.

"Through the Gas Tax Fund, we are providing real financial support to infrastructure projects like water treatment, transit and green energy. These will improve community life and create jobs across Canada," said Colin Mayes, MP for Okanagan Shuswap. "This project will have a positive impact on the economy, the environment, and the residents of the Columbia Shuswap Regional District."

The revamped Copperview Haven water treatment plant will service 37 properties, with capacity to support an additional 23 residential units proposed for development. The new improvements will remove the necessity to issue boil water advisories to households in the service area and bring the system into compliance with the Drinking Water Protection Act.

"The CSRD is delighted with this announcement," said Chair Marty Bootsma. "It demonstrates senior governments' commitment to infrastructure upgrading and sends a clear message that local governments hold the key to sustainable water utility ownership and operation in BC. The CSRD's Water Utility Acquisition Strategy, scheduled for adoption later this year, reflects the CSRD's commitment to safe and reliable drinking water."

The project to acquire and upgrade the Copperview Haven Water System is consistent with the CSRD's Water Utility Acquisition Strategy. The Strategy directs the CSRD's efforts to provide well-operated water systems for all communities in the region through better governance of water utilities. The Copperview Haven Water system was privately managed until 1991, after which ownership defaulted to the Province. Pending a successful public assent process, it will be acquired by the CSRD as part of the upgrade project. In 2007, $2.49 million in funding from the Gas Tax Fund was provided to the CSRD to upgrade the MacArthur Heights and Reedman Heights Water Systems.

"Having access to clean drinking water is something most of us take for granted, but for many communities, this can be an ongoing challenge," said Shuswap MLA George Abbott. "This funding will allow the CSRD to supply a number of households with clean drinking water, while providing room for growth and community development."

The Gas Tax Fund delivers infrastructure funding to local governments and other eligible recipients primarily for capital projects that lead to cleaner air, cleaner water or reduced greenhouse gas emissions. Funding is also available for planning projects that contribute to the sustainability of communities and regions. UBCM administers the Gas Tax Fund in BC in collaboration with Canada and BC

"UBCM is glad to see funding in place to implement the next step in the CSRD's water acquisition strategy," said President Robert Hobson. "This project is a great example of how the Gas Tax Fund supports local priorities."

Under current federal infrastructure funding, British Columbia will receive $2.724 billion until 2014. This includes $1.64 billion under the Gas Tax Fund. In 'Canada's Economic Action Plan' (Budget 2009), some $12 billion more will be available for infrastructure work across Canada over the next two years.

Please visit Infrastructure Canada or Government of British Columbia for background information on the Canada – BCUBCM Gas Tax Agreement.

For more information:

Chris Day
Press Secretary
Office of Canada's Minister of Transport and Infrastructure
613-991-0700

Paul Taylor
Relationships and Communications Advisor
Union of BC Municipalities
250-356-2938

Marika Glickman
Ministry of Community Development
250-387-4089

Infrastructure Canada
613-948-1148