Sewer initiative has a home

A project home base has been set up for the duration of a sewer initiative to collect and treat wastewater from the south region of the Comox Valley.

The project — a joint initiative between the Comox Valley Regional District, Village of Cumberland and K’ómoks First Nation — aims to address the impact of failing septic systems in Royston and Union Bay.

Associated Engineering has been awarded the contract for consulting services to complete a liquid waste management plan and environmental impact study.

“Baynes Sound is a major aquaculture area, and ecologically sensitive area,” Bruce Jolliffe, Area A director and chair of the south sewer select committee, said Thursday at an open house at the project office in Royston. “This is a long-term project. One of the key things is fully engaging the citizens so they know what’s going on.”

The committee includes Cumberland Mayor Leslie Baird and KFN Chief Rob Everson.

“Baynes Sound and the whole estuary is so important to the K’ómoks First Nation, and it’s projects like this that will preserve that sensitive ecosystem for years to come,” Everson said. “We hope it benefits not only the estuary, the ecosystem in Baynes Sound, but the people of the Comox Valley.”

The project will also address Cumberland’s treated lagoon effluent on receiving waters of Baynes Sound.

“We’ve been polluting the Trent (River) for many years, and we’re certainly looking forward to ending that problem,” Baird said.

The first phase of a new water resource recovery facility and collection system is estimated to cost $42 million.

Federal grants will cover $17 million. Additional funding will be sought to further reduce costs. The remainder will be borrowed, repaid through property taxes in the service area.

Federal gas tax funding requires the project be completed by September, 2018.

The project office is at 3843 Livingstone Rd. in Royston. Public visiting hours are from noon to 4 p.m. each Thursday.

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