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Balfour Water Users overwhelmingly approve of borrowing to upgrade water system

The referendum, held Saturday (June 17th), saw 87.9% (153) of voters in support of the borrowing to commence upgrades of the system.

The on again, off again, Balfour Water System Upgrade is, well, on again after Balfour residents voted in favour to borrow money to upgrade the local system.

The Regional District of Central Kootenay referendum, held Saturday (June 17th), saw 87.9% (153) of voters in support of the borrowing to commence upgrades of the system. There were 12.1% (21) in opposition.

Fifty percent of voters (174) turned out to vote in the referendum.

“I am very pleased that the majority of water system participants in Balfour have chosen to accept the generosity of the provincial and federal governments under the Clean Water and Wastewater Fund grant program and have voted in favour of borrowing and contributing 17% of overall project costs,” said RDCK Area E Director Ramona Faust said in a media release.

“This will provide staff with the mandate to move swiftly to begin and carry out the project.”

“Thank you to RDCK staff for their support of Balfour residents,” Faust added. 

The referendum was held to determine if there was support for the RDCK to borrow $583,323 to proceed with the Balfour Water System Upgrade and Universal Metering Project.

The estimated total cost is $3,397,000. The balance of costs would come from the $2.8 million Clean Water and Wastewater Fund grant the RDCK received for the project.

The scope of the project includes construction of a new reservoir, installation of universal metering, establishing standby power, replacement of the upper zone pump station, upgrading water lines and providing hydrant infill. 

RDCK General Manager of Environmental Services, Uli Wolf said with the demonstrated support of the community, the project can move forward to provide Balfour residents with a unique opportunity to catch up on urgent infrastructure replacement backlog with a relatively small financial commitment. 

“This project is a must in order to achieve rate stability for the water system over the long term,” Wolf said. 

The RDCK said project work will commence immediately and under the granting agency requirements, all project components must be completed in their entirety by the extended deadline of March 31, 2019.    

“While this may have been a lengthy and difficult process at times, it proved beneficial in that it provided the opportunity for community members to garner a better understanding of the tremendous and complex infrastructure needs facing the water system,” the RDCK said.

“This project is for, and will benefit all Balfour water users and we welcome your ongoing involvement, interest and commitment to improving the water system.”