The largest construction project in the history of the Regional District of East Kootenay officially broke ground today in West Fernie.

West Fernie construction begins

The $16,412,291 two-phase project will provide West Fernie residents and businesses with an upgraded water system and new storm water and sanitary sewer systems.

“The Government of Canada is pleased to invest to improve the safety, quality and reliability of water services to West Fernie residents and businesses, while also upgrading the community’s wastewater management systems,” said the Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities. “Our infrastructure plan in Budget 2016 will see us invest in more projects like this to create good jobs, support a clean growth economy and leave a lasting legacy for future generations.”

The project will include the rehabilitation of approximately 4.7 kilometres of potable water mains, including all valves, fittings, service connections, fire hydrants and water meters. In addition, approximately 4.2 kilometres of sanitary sewer and 3.3 kilometres of the stormwater mains will be installed, including any related connections, catch basins and manholes, lift stations and pumps, ditching work and tie-ins. Once completed, the modernized water mains and the new wastewater collection system will provide reliable services to the area for years to come.

Bill Bennett & Mike Sosnowski

“This expansion of the West Fernie Water and Wastewater Management Systems will provide critical infrastructure upgrades to the existing water system in West Fernie, which will provide long-term sustainability for residents of this community,” Kootenay East MLA Bill Bennett said. “We are excited that construction has now begun on phase one, and look forward to the completion of this project.”

Dawson Construction Ltd will be completing the first phase of construction, which will focus on the area to the southeast side of Highway 3. “I would like to thank the Federal and Provincial governments for their support of this project, the City of Fernie, RDEK staff and the community,” said RDEK Electoral Area A Director Mike Sosnowski. “It has taken well over nine years to get to this moment and I am ecstatic to be officially breaking ground.”

Construction on this first phase of the project is anticipated to be substantially completed in 2016. Construction in the northwest area of Highway 3 is projected to begin in Spring 2017. The City of Fernie will expand its boundary as each phase of construction is complete.

“These comprehensive upgrades to the water, storm water and wastewater systems in West Fernie underscore the importance of federal and provincial funding programs for local infrastructure,” said Union of BC Municipalities president Al Richmond. “The upgrades resulting from this project will improve local services for residences and provide a foundation for future growth.”

Funding for the project was provided as follows:
• Phase 1 $6,000,000 Federal Gas Tax Fund
• Phase 2 $6,941,528 Federal and Provincial contribution through the Small Communities Fund

The remainder of the project costs will be covered by borrowing and a contribution from the Electoral Area A portion of the Elk Valley Mine Tax Fund.

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