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B.C. opens up $150M in second round of water and wastewater grants

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A combination of new federal and provincial infrastructure funding is opening up grants totalling $150 million for water and wastewater services in British Columbia.

B.C. will contribute up to $68 million to the second intake of the Environmental Quality program, while the Government of Canada will contribute up to $82 million.

“This program provides a critical boost to local governments seeking to replace, upgrade or expand water and wastewater systems,” Maja Tait, president of the Union of British Columbia Municipalities, announced in a statement. “I am glad to see a window opening for the next round of applications and appreciate the continuing commitment by the federal and provincial governments toward the renewal of community infrastructure throughout B.C.,” she added.

Eligible projects must meet one of several criteria: increase capacity to treat and/or manage wastewater and/or stormwater; increase access to potable water; or increase capacity to reduce and/or remediate soil and/or air pollutants.

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Under the first intake of the Environmental Quality Program in 2018, selected projects included grants totaling $243 million for improving access to safe, reliable drinking water and, in some cases, resolving current drinking water advisories and reducing the likelihood of future ones. Other projects supported new and upgraded wastewater systems to meet regulatory standards, and modernized services to support population growth.

In August, B.C. had nine projects funded through the program to support new and upgraded wastewater systems that could meet regulatory standards, modernize services and support growing communities. That month, six projects were also funded to help protect the health of First Nations residents by improving access to safe and reliable drinking water in small communities.

“Black Tusk Village was established by the province to house residents forced to relocate because their community was built in a geo-hazard area,” announced Tony Rainbow, Squamish-Lillooet Regional District Board Chair and Electoral Area D Director, at the time. “Replacement of the aging wastewater treatment facility is a priority for this community and this funding supports a project that provides a sustainable solution with long-term economic, social and environmental benefits.”

Last week, B.C. began accepting applications from local governments and First Nations for the second intake of Environmental Quality grants available through the joint federal-provincial Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program.

Funding is available up to 73.33% of eligible project costs (40% Government of Canada, 33.33% Province of British Columbia).

The deadline for applications under the second intake is February 26, 2020.

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