UPDATE: Infrastructure funds helping growing communities in Comox Valley
The federal government is contributing $17 million towards a sewer project in the southern reaches of the Valley — a joint initiative between the Comox Valley Regional District, Village of Cumberland and K’ómoks First Nation.
The project will be completed in stages, the first of which will cost $42 million. To help protect waterways surrounding Baynes Sound, a treatment plant and collection system will be constructed to address failing septic systems in core areas of Union Bay and Royston, and wastewater from Cumberland.
"I think we all recognize there's been a long-standing issue with the protection of Baynes Sound," Vancouver Island North MP John Duncan said at a Wednesday announcement in Royston. "This is great news obviously for the entire Comox Valley. This has been a priority project for a long time."
“It's a great start for the improvement of the water quality of the Trent River and Baynes Sound, and protection for the greatest shellfish growing area on the west coast of Canada,” CVRD chair Edwin Grieve said.
The $17 million federal portion includes $15 million in gas tax funds from the Union of BC Municipalities program for capital projects and $2 million from the CVRD's annual gas tax fund allocation. The regional district will finance the remainder of the initial phase by borrowing about $25 million through the Municipal Finance Authority. Property owners will bear some of the sewer system cost.
Cumberland Mayor Leslie Baird said the project will support the future of the Village, where projected residential, commercial and industrial growth is "momentous.
"Without this quality of wastewater treatment, this growth would not be sustainable for the environment," she said.
Location of the treatment plant is still to be determined.
"This has been in the air for over a decade," said Area A director Bruce Jolliffe, noting the efforts of the Valley as a whole to ensure Baynes Sound is properly protected.
Stage two of the project involves building pump stations and local collection systems at various locations in Area A (Baynes Sound-Denman/Hornby Islands), and adding residential areas into the system.
See Friday's Comox Valley Record for more.