Phillips Reservoir south of Cranbrook. Townsman file photo.

City pursuing grant funding for water pipeline bypass

Project will allow city for projects at Phillips Reservoir without interrupting water service to residents

City council approved a grant application to senior levels of government for help to fund a pipeline that bypasses the Phillips reservoir without interrupting the city’s water distribution network.

The project, estimated at $7.24 million, seeks to have federal and provincial governments cover roughly 75 per cent of the project, while the city would be on the hook for the remainder — roughly $2 million that will be covered through a loan bylaw.

The 2.5 kilometre pipeline will allow the city to take the Phillips Reservoir offline for maintenance or unplanned events while maintaining access to the city’s water supply, according to a staff report. The bypass will allow the city to replace the Intake Valve, which has reached it’s end of life and needs to be replaced.

Mike Matejka, the city’s infrastructure manager, said the project became a priority after it was identified in a dam safety review report, which staff didn’t receive until after the fall budget sessions.

“It’s certainly not ideal but we did just have the dam safety report done and it wasn’t completed until after the budget season there,” said Matejka, “So ideally, in the future, we’ll try to make sure these things are looked at ahead of time and are part of the water quality and supply asset management plan that we’re working on right now.

“We’re really hoping that’s going to help identify all of theses types of deliverables and related risks in the long-term and the associated funding and funding mechanisms so these types of things are seen much sooner.”

A staff report notes that federal and provincial governments are investing up to $150 million into a second intake of a grant program to help communities address infrastructure needs while supporting environmental quality.

The loan bylaw must go to the province for approval before the city initiates the Alternative Approval Process, which will seek elector assent for borrowing the $2 million. The debt servicing will be funded from the city’s Water fund and will result in an increase to the water parcel taxes of $0.60, or $9 based on a 15.25-metre lot, according to staff.

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