District of Tofino council, from left, Duncan McMaster, Britt Chalmers, Mayor Josie Osborne, Al Anderson, Andrea McQuade and Tom Stere rejoice the Aug. 27 grand funding announcement for the town’s new wastewater treatment plant. (Nora O’Malley Photo)

Tofino receives more than $40M in funding for new sewage treatment plant

District will contribute $14.96M

The federal government announced on Tuesday it will invest $21.96 million into wastewater treatment in Tofino, with the B.C. provincial government contributing $18.3M to the same project.

It is the largest infrastructure investment since the municipality was incorporated in 1932.

The project will construct a new wastewater treatment plant and ultraviolet disinfection for treated effluent to help improve and protect the local marine environment. This will service the District of Tofino, Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation, and the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve.

“I really want to mark the fact that this is a pivotal point in the many, many hours, days, months and years of planning to get to this point,” said Tofino Mayor Josie Osborne, expressing her happiness with the funding during the Aug. 27 regular council meeting.

“There has been a phenomenal amount of work that has been done by our CAO, by our managers… our consultants, local citizens and stakeholders that took part and advised us along the way. The Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations, who helped us with this process.”

The District of Tofino will contribute $14.96M. The funding from the federal government and the province represents 73.3 per cent of the estimated eligible costs of the new, modern wastewater treatment plant.

The district currently discharges untreated wastewater to Duffin Passage in Clayoquot Sound. In 2015, Tofino committed to meeting federal wastewater effluent guidelines and to developing a modern, reliable wastewater system.

When completed, the wastewater treatment plant will be a very important step in improving water quality in the Clayoquot Sound, protecting public health and conserving the marine environment, states a press release issued by the district.

In particular, it is hoped that once the wastewater treatment plant is operating, the longstanding restrictions on shellfish harvesting near Tofino and Opistsaht will begin to ease.

Saya Masso, Land and resources director for Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations, said Tla-o-qui-aht is very happy to see the region awarded this funding.

“This project falls perfectly in line with Tla-o-qui-aht land use and marine objectives; and it has been a long standing desire to see this project implemented. This project is a critical step to achieving healthier marine areas, and enhancing the economic diversity of the region,” said Masso.

In 2017, with the assistance of a local advisory committee of residents, stakeholders, and Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation representatives, Tofino completed a new Liquid Waste Management Plan. This work was followed by the design of a wastewater treatment plant, and improved wastewater collection system and outfall.

In addition to dealing with wastewater from Tofino homes and businesses, the new wastewater system will treat domestic sewage collection from the Tla-o-qui-aht communities of Esowista and Ty-histanis. Treatment of wastewater from Opitsaht and portions of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve is also likely.

Courtenay-Alberni MP Gord Johns said the green infrastructure investment is a major boost for the community.

“We need an unspoiled natural environment to support both traditional Indigenous practices and a healthy tourist economy which attracts thousands of visitors to our region every year. This has been accomplished with good planning, the vision of local leaders and federal and provincial governments working together. It is truly a big day for the future of Tofino and our UNESCO Biosphere Region,” said Johns.

The joint federal, provincial and municipal funding came through the Green Infrastructure Stream – Environmental Quality program of the Investing in Canada infrastructure plan and the Small Communities Fund of the New Building Canada Fund.

Better drinking water and wastewater infrastructure improvements are coming to 15 British Columbia communities, including Tofino.

Six projects will help protect the health of residents by improving access to safe and reliable drinking water in small communities, including First Nations communities, in some cases resolving current drinking water advisories and reducing the likelihood of future ones.

Nine projects, like the District of Tofino’s, will support new and upgraded wastewater systems to meet regulatory standards, modernize services and support growing communities.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Ahousaht students kick off school year with inspirational field-trip

Maaqtusiis kicks off year with two-night stay at Cedar Coast Field Station on Vargas Island

Surf’s Up event in Tofino offers a wave of positivity for families living with autism

“There’s no other opportunity like this for kids like Rylan.”

2019 FEDERAL ELECTION: Meet the candidates for the Courtenay-Alberni riding

In an effort to inform the Courtenay-Alberni riding constituents, we have supplied… Continue reading

Crew keeps worried mother at bay while rescuing entangled baby humpback near Ucluelet

“These animals are massive, they’re powerful and it really is dangerous.”

First Nations given max compensation for Ottawa’s child-welfare discrimination

2016 ruling said feds didn’t give same funding for on-reserve kids as was given to off-reserve kids

VIDEO: Liberals make child care pledge, Greens unveil platform on Day 6 of campaign

Green party leader Elizabeth May unveils her party’s platform in Toronto

Surrey mom allegedly paid $400,000 for son in U.S. college bribery scam

Xiaoning Sui, 48, was arrested in Spain on Monday night

Nanaimo RCMP officer ‘walks on water’ to rescue lost camper

66-year-old assisted earlier this month by Mounties who can seemingly work miracles

Winnipeg student, killed in bus crash, remembered as passionate, kind

University of Victoria student Emma Machado, 18, was killed in the bus crash near Bamfield on Friday

Boy overdosed on illicit anti-anxiety drug found on Kelowna classroom floor, RCMP say

Noah Mills, 8, ingested a pink powdery substance off his Kelowna classroom floor

Fewer trees, higher costs blamed for devastating downturn in B.C. forestry

Largest driving factor is the province’s complex stumpage system that results in high fees, expert says

20 day search for missing Labradoodle in Princeton, B.C. ends with tears of joy

The search brought out bloodhounds, and groups hoping to find Mordy

Canucks sign Brock Boeser to three-year, US$17.6-million deal

Young sniper will be in Vancouver Tuesday

Most Read