Desktop – Leaderboard

Home » Feds, province come up big for Fernie

Posted: July 25, 2015

Feds, province come up big for Fernie

West Fernie Water and stormwater and James White Well Development Project get funds approved under Canada’s Small Communities Fund

Kootenay East MLA Bill Bennett addresses the gathering Friday. Ian Cobb/e-KNOW images
Kootenay East MLA Bill Bennett addresses the gathering Friday. Ian Cobb/e-KNOW images

About 150 people were on hand at Fernie’s Rotary Park Friday for a major funding announcement by Kootenay-Columbia MP David Wilks and Kootenay East MLA Bill Bennett.

The federal and provincial government officials announced each will provide up to $3,470,764 ($6,941,528 total) for West Fernie’s water and wastewater infrastructure.

The total estimated cost for this project is $10,412,294, with the Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK) responsible for the final one-third of the cost.

The upgrades to water and wastewater infrastructure is thanks to joint funding from the governments of Canada and British Columbia through the Small Communities Fund.

Electoral Area A Director Mike Sosnowski.
Electoral Area A Director Mike Sosnowski.

A portion of the funding will be used to provide West Fernie residents and businesses with upgraded water and wastewater management systems. The work will include the rehabilitation of approximately 3.2 kilometres of potable water mains, including all valves, fittings, service connections, fire hydrants and water meters. Approximately 3.2 kilometres of sanitary sewer and .3 kilometres of the stormwater mains will be installed at the same time. This will include any related connections, catch basins and manholes, lift stations and pumps, ditching work and tie-ins. When completed, the modernized, higher capacity water mains and the new wastewater management system will provide reliable services to the area for years to come.

Adding oomph to an already heady announcement, Wilks and Bennett also announced a further $826,258 apiece from the federal and provincial governments ($1,652,516 total) for the James White Well Development Project.

The City of Fernie will be responsible for all remaining costs of the project, estimated to cost $2,478,775.

The project will include the construction of a new source water well, including a pump house and the installation of approximately 433 metres of water line. Where the line crosses the Elk River, it will be installed seven metres below the deepest part of channel. The community historically faced challenges dealing with water turbidity from its primary river intake during spring thaw. When completed, the new well will provide the city with a secondary drinking water supply source, assuring a continued supply of clean, potable water throughout the year.

West Fernie Fernie group“We are proud to invest in projects like the West Fernie Water System and the James White Well in Fernie that will benefit our community by improving much needed local infrastructure. Our government’s commitment to municipalities, big and small, has never been stronger. Through the New Building Canada Plan’s Small Communities Fund, we are investing in priority infrastructure projects that have a positive and lasting impact on the quality of life of British Columbia’s residents while helping create jobs and economic growth,” said Wilks, whose familiarity with the project stems back to when he was the District of Sparwood’s mayor and RDEK director.

Wilks made the announcement on behalf Honourable Denis Lebel, Minister of Infrastructure, Communities and Intergovernmental Affairs and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec.

“The West Fernie water and sewer servicing has been a priority for me for over 10 years. Along with Area A Director Mike Sosnowski, Fernie Mayor Mary Giuliano and MP David Wilks, we have managed to finally get this project done. I believe Director Sosnowski in particular deserves special mention for his dogged pursuit of financial assistance over the years and for his leadership in bringing modern water and sewer infrastructure to the people of West Fernie,” said Bennett, also B.C.’s Minister of Energy and Mines.

The bulldog at the centre of the day’s landmark announcement is Electoral Area A Director Sosnowski, who has spent four-terms in office pounding on Bennett’s door and in the last federal term, Wilks’ door.

“Today’s announcement is a pivotal moment in West Fernie’s history and it would not be possible without the determination and support of Kootenay-Columbia MP David Wilks and Kootenay East MLA Bill Bennett. Without their local knowledge about these projects and their commitment to their constituents here, this funding would not have happened. We are so grateful. I would also like to acknowledge the residents, community champions and RDEK Board and staff who have worked for years to see West Fernie serviced with sanitary and stormwater sewer in addition to an upgraded water system,” he said.

Fernie Mayor Mary Giuliano.
Fernie Mayor Mary Giuliano.

Mayor Giuliano told those gathered for the announcements and following barbecue: “Mayor and Council and the City of Fernie express sincere gratitude to MP David Wilks and the Government of Canada and to our MLA Minister Bill Bennett and the Province of BC for each providing one third of the funding for the James White Well Project. The contribution will help the City to switch the supply during freshet and allow continued provision of safe and reliable drinking water to the community.”

City of Fernie Chief Administrative Officer Jim Hendricks told e-KNOW following the announcements that additional employment will likely following in the wake of the work that will be done, not only from construction work but also from the city’s standpoint as West Fernie is incorporated into the city.

More good news is coming, said MP Wilks Friday afternoon, in terms of federal funding coming  into the riding the next while. Here he takes a station at the barbecue following the funding announcement.
More good news is coming, said MP Wilks Friday afternoon, in terms of federal funding coming into the riding the next while. Here he takes a station at the barbecue following the funding announcement.

The projects announced are among 55 recently approved in British Columbia that will collectively receive more than $128 million in joint federal-provincial funding under the Small Communities Fund. These projects represent important investments in municipal infrastructure that maintain safe, healthy communities. Once complete, the work will significantly improve key municipal services for residents and help boost regional development.

Through the Small Communities Fund, the governments of Canada and British Columbia are working in partnership to provide funding for priority public infrastructure projects that deliver on local needs in communities across the province that have fewer than 100,000 residents. These investments support job creation and economic growth, thus sustaining a high quality of life in small communities across British Columbia for years to come.

Lead image: From left; City of Fernie Mayor Mary Giuliano; Kootenay-Columbia MP David Wilks; Kootenay East MLA Bill Bennett; Area D Director Mike Sosnowski; Area C Director/RDEK Board Chair Rob Gay. Ian Cobb/e-KNOW


Article Share