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$7.1 million in grant funds awarded to Rupert water project

Port Edward also receives $809,250 to pay for upgrading sanitary and storm water pipes through Clean Water and Wastewater Fund
The City of Prince Rupert is receiving $7 million in federal and provincial funding to pay for phase-two of the waterworks project to replace the 100-year-old Woodworth Dam.

The federal and provincial governments have approved a combined $7.1-million grant to replace the antiquated 100-year-old dam that supplies drinking water to Prince Rupert.

Prince Rupert council and taxpayers can take a sigh of relief as the Clean Water and Wastewater Fund picks up most of the tab of the new dam, with Prince Rupert Legacy Inc. covering the remaining $1,460, 300.

The legacy fund is a subsidiary of the city that collects money when the municipality sells land, or when a proponent uses city-land for investigation purposes. Funds are meant for major infrastructure projects, such as the $17.8-million water project the city is embarking on this year.

"We are very excited to announce this funding to the community, as we have now achieved $11.5-million in total grant funding for our waterworks project," Mayor Lee Brain said.

The water project is set in three phases: the first is to replace the water line and build an access road to the facility; the second is to replace the dam and supply line that is fed by Woodworth and Shawatlans lakes; the third is to replace underwater lines to Seal Cove.

The cost of the water project has grown since the original $15-million estimate. In the city video that describes the work that needs to be done, replacing the dam was estimated to cost $6 million, but to date, the funding for this phase totals $8.5-million.

“Projected costs have increased for Phase 2 of the waterworks project based on further information and technical requirements that have come to light as we have moved through the detailed dam design with our contracted engineering firm,” explained communications manager Veronika Stewart in an email.

When the city applied for grants, they aimed high to ensure there would be enough money to budget for potential overages.

Earlier this month, the city announced it had approved of a $6.9-million contract for Kledo Construction to start phase one this spring, to be completed by mid-November. The original estimate for the project was $6-million. Two-thirds of the cost, or $4.4-million, was covered by federal and provincial funds and Prince Rupert Legacy Inc. covered the rest.

Last November, the Northern View wrote a story that the city had missed out on the initial approved projects under the Clean Water and Wastewater Fund. But on Oct. 11, Mayor Lee Brain clarified that the city was trying to apply for the grant that would pay for most of the dam, and they were still making an application for the fund.

"We wanted to see if we could try and get the majority of it paid for first," Brain said last year.

With 83.5 per cent of the dam replacement paid for with federal and provincial funding, the mayor achieved his goal.

Port Edward is also receiving a boost from the Clean Water and Wastewater Fund. The district was approved for $809,250 to pay for upgrading sanitary and storm water pipes. The municipality is chipping in $165,750 for the project anticipated to start this June.

"It's good to have an opportunity to maintain as much of your core infrastructure as you can, so there is minimal impact on using tax dollars," said Bob Payette, chief administrative officer for Port Edward.

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