The estimated cost of improving the water systems in Hope will be about $1.8 million, according to a study commissioned by the District of Hope.
The study was done by True Consulting, and David Underwood presented their findings including the cost to council on Monday night at the committee of the whole meeting. Council had voted for the study back in July when they decided to take over the failed 753 Waterworks system.
The study looked at the entire water system in Hope, Kawkawa Lake and Silver Creek, as the cost will be partly downloaded to taxpayers over time.
Underwood outlined the problems with the system as it is today, discussed how these problems came to be, and mostly explained what needs to be done to get the best efficiency for the water system throughout Hope.
There was a well failure in 2015 and that’s when the homes on 753 Waterworks were connected to Hope’s main water system. The well failure revealed mismanagement by the private water company. However, 753 Waterworks was still the billing party for those homeowners. Stewardship of the system went to the province in 2017, and the comptroller took over. Some residents have refused to pay their water bills, which have had several increases recently.
The current council decided in July that it would be best if the District takes over the system entirely, but didn’t want to make a solid decision on moving forward until a proper study could be conducted. They also could not apply for funding grants for the upgrades needed without such a study, which came with a price tag of about $18,000.
The study found that the main reservoir, which currently will not fill, is structurally sound. However, True Consulting found that it requires a complete relining with a waterproof membrane, along with several various upgrades.
One of the most pressing questions of the system surrounds a reservoir that will not fill, but Underwood said they haven’t yet been able to say with certainty.
“It should overflow but it doesn’t,” Underwood said, adding that they had really hoped to pinpoint the reason before this week’s presentation.
The $1.8 million includes a contingency for this unknown, but there are several upgrades that are known to be needed.
They include decommissioning four wells, the Skylark and Riverview wells, and Wells 7 and 9, adding new hydrants, a booster station, and multiple tie-ins. The plan also calls to make Upper Thacker Mountain Road a separate pressure zone.
The decision to amalgamate the 753 Waterworks system into the district was about 30 years in the making, and their decision in July was in a packed council meeting. Those in attendance erupted in cheers. More than 150 residents near Kawkawa Lake are connected to the private water company that’s been seized by the Province of B.C.’s water comptroller.
Council made no decisions regarding the water system on Monday night. They will meet again as a committee of the whole to discuss the matter on Dec. 2 at 6:30 p.m. At that time, CAO John Fortoloczky says he will also provide a snapshot of the 753 Waterworks finances.