Metro Vancouver approves regional cost-sharing plan for $3.8B North Shore WWTP

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North Shore WWTP project
North Shore Wastewater Treatment Plant Program. Map Graphic: Metro Vancouver

Metro Vancouver’s board of directors has adopted a plan to distribute the costs of building the new wastewater treatment plant in North Vancouver across the entire region, with the North Shore Sewerage Area carrying most of the load for decades.

After several unsuccessful votes at a May 31 special meeting, a majority of board directors agreed that the North Shore Sewerage Area would cover 37% of the additional costs. The new cost-sharing plan means that households in the North Shore Sewerage area, one of four areas in Metro Vancouver, avoided bearing the proposed additional $725 annual charge on their sewer rates.

Under the newly-approved allocation model, households in the North Shore Sewerage Area will pay $590 per year for 30 years. 

The budget for the North Shore Wastewater Treatment Plant has surged from $700 million to $3.8 billion in recent years as local officials faced a series of cost overruns and other challenges from terminating a contract with Acciona Wastewater Solutions LP, which includes an ongoing lawsuit.

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To cover the remaining costs, here are how the other three sewerage areas in Metro Vancouver will be impacted:

  • Vancouver Sewerage Area households will pay $150 annually.
  • Fraser Sewerage Area households will pay $90 annually.
  • Lulu Island Sewerage Area households will pay $80 annually.

The costs for the North Shore will be phased in over five years, and the costs for the Vancouver, Fraser, and Lulu Island sewerage areas will be phased in over one year.

North Shore residents make up 7% of the region’s population. The new treatment plant will serve over 300,000 residents and businesses in the area.

Many directors have expressed frustration over the lack of transparency and accountability surrounding the project. When first announced, the provincial and federal governments provided $405 million in joint funding. However, in late March, North Vancouver MP Jonathan Wilkinson stated that no additional federal funding would be forthcoming.

In late 2023, Metro Vancouver formed a task force to review all available options for completing the troubled North Shore Wastewater Treatment Plant project.

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