Thirteen years after a water study recommended the Village of Telkwa construct a new water tower, the project is nearing completion.
The Trobak Reservoir is full of water and leakage tests and bacteriological water quality tests are being done. Village of Telkwa’s Chief Administrative Officer Debbie Joujan said once these test have come back, the final piping connection to the distribution system will be completed.
The reservoir could be put into service as early as this week. The project is currently one month behind schedule.
Joujan added local watermain upgrading in the Tower neighbourhood has been completed and all consumers affected are connected. This project has been in the works for some time after a water study by Opus DK found in 2006 there were major weaknesses in the village’s water system.
Up until now, the supply, treatment and storage for the entire village resided on the west side of the Bulkley River. Water supply to the commercial and residential properties on the east side of the village were very vulnerable in that, other than the small, untreated production well, their entire service was provided by a single main crossing the Bulkley River on the Coal Mine Road bridge.
Another weakness identified in the 2006 Opus DK Water Study was that the existing water system, with only one reservoir on Morris Hill, did not provide sufficient fire flows to the community.
Getting the funding for the project was an uphill battle. This project’s $3.6 million price tag will be paid for by the Union of British Columbia Municipalities Federal Gas Tax Funds but according to former mayor Darcy Repen, it was a fight to get that money.
“I am very proud of the courage shown by the council of the time,” said Repen. “I believe we may have done something no other municipal council had done; we rejected a $1.6 million dollar grant because we knew that the funding offer was unfair, and would leave Telkwa taxpayers with a burden that they neither deserved nor could bear.
“As a result of that decision, there were a number of residents and property developers who criticized us, saying we’d never see the funding offer again. We stuck to our guns, presented a strong and clear case for greater funding, and less than a year later saw that $1.6 million (2/3 funding) become nearly $3.8 million (100 per cent funding). That $2.2 million amounts to over $4,000 per household, not including interest.”
Repen added that getting the funding for this project and getting the ball rolling on construction was the greatest achievement for the past council.
“Most importantly, of course, we secured our water supply for the future, and created the conditions for economic growth in the village,” he said. “I look forward to seeing what this and future councils do to foster that growth. I believe the future is bright for Telkwa, and this work on our water system is a key part of that.”
Current Mayor Brad Layton also said many councils have been working toward this water tower for many terms and he is happy to see it come to fruition.
“We can finally start planning development in Telkwa without everything on hold,” he added.
The finishing touches on the project will be done in the spring.
“Restoration of road surfaces and landscaping features continue to be a challenge with weather conditions being far from ideal,” explained Joujan. “Chute Creek Construction Ltd. will finish the restoration work as soon as weather permits in 2020.”