Courtenay city council has approved reallocating funds from other projects and reserves in 2021 to complete the Greenwood Trunk Sewer due to groundwater issues which have impacted excavation.
The Greenwood Trunk Project is 75 per cent complete. The top priority in the City’s Sewer Master Plan, the project is necessary to accommodate current and anticipated development in East Courtenay. The project will include new sanitary sewer mains off Anderton Road and a new sewer pump station, redirecting substantial sewage flows away from the Courtenay lift station and connecting to an existing section of the Greenwood Trunk Sewer constructed by the Comox Valley Regional District in 2017.
Originally budgeted for $4.1 million, the project experienced a prior hydraulic breach from an underground aquifer in September 2020 during deep excavation works for lift station installation, and required a budget reallocation of $1,492,500. The repairs were completed successfully in May.
In July 2021, a second hydraulic breach from a separate groundwater source unconnected to the first occurred during excavation. Remediation is expected to require an additional budget reallocation of $1,360,000.
Staff have performed a thorough review of the sewer capital program and are finalizing the 2022-2026 Sewer Financial Plan. With this budget reallocation staff will be recommending a 7.5 per cent or $26.37 per household increase to the sewer user fee, and 5.5 per cent each year for the following years. Previous financial plans were projecting 5.5 per cent increases in each year. The City is pursuing all options for cost recovery to offset the additional expense for both hydraulic breaches.
Chris Davidson, director of engineering, said numerous current and future developments are contingent on the Greenwood Trunk.
“There are a number of housing and commercial projects in East Courtenay that are either planned, approved, or underway that are depending on the successful completion of this project,” said Davidson. “Unfortunately, significant complications with conditions at the site have greatly increased the scope, timeline, and costs for this project. These additional funds will allow construction to continue, with project completion now anticipated in February 2022.”
Courtenay’s Greenwood Trunk includes 600 metres of gravel roadway, 3.2 kilometres of pipe, and other supporting works, and will allow three smaller lift stations to be decommissioned.