$10 million Revelstoke sewage treatment plant grant fails

Application for nearly $10 million through Investing in Canada Plan unsuccessful.

The City of Revelstoke sewage lagoon in the industrial park area in Southside. Photo: file

The city of Revelstoke will need to find nearly $10 million for sewer upgrades after learning a grant application through Investing in Canada Plan – Green Infrastructure: Environmental Quality Substream was unsuccessful. The unsuccessful grant application means Phase 1 of the Wastewater Treatment Facility upgrade project won’t meet its original 2020 completion date.

The previous city council gave approval for staff to apply for the grant, which would have provided the bulk of the $13.6 million required for Phase 1 of the project. The remaining funds would have come from the city’s coffers, something the previous council also gave its approval for.

Reasons behind the Investing in Canada Plan grant’s denial are unknown at this time. The Mountaineer reached out to acting chief administrative officer Dawn Low for more details on Friday afternoon, but were told she is out of the office until after the September long weekend.

A detail of note is the current council’s decision to remove the now former CAO and director of engineering. It’s not uncommon for a new council to make significant staffing changes. However, making two significant staffing changes at once is less common and the Mountaineer planned to ask Low if this decision played a deciding factor in the grant application’s denial.

Plans for Phase 1 of the Wastewater Treatment Facility upgrade project include trying to find solutions for the sewer odour issue, and creating an updated liquid waste mangement plan. With development continuing to increase, city staff and council will need to work at finding alternate funding sources to get the much needed wastewater upgrades underway.

Update: September 9

In conversation with the Mountaineer, Low said a discussion with a representative from the province shed some light on the reason behind the city’s sewer grant denial. Of the 114 applications for an Investing in Canada Plan – Green Infrastructure: Environmental Quality Substream grant, only 14 were successful.

“The reason we were so shocked is that we thought they were going to be giving out smaller amounts,” said Low, who explained the funding structure for the grants changed part way through the process, with larger amounts given for projects instead. “We were told we were likely not going to receive more than $5 million.”

Low said the city is planning on applying for another Investing in Canada Plan grant when applications are open again. The city also put out a request for proposals for a liquid waste management program and is waiting to have a director of engineering in place to spearhead the program. Low said interviews for a new director of engineering were completed last week, with some very promising candidates.

“We will apply again with a better, more detailed project,” said Low.