After missing out on a sizeable grant, the District of Ucluelet has temporarily tabled its plan to use Kennedy Lake as a water source (Westerly file photo)

Ucluelet pursues $8M water upgrade

Project aims to expand water capacity while tackling town’s brown water woes.

Ucluelet has put a temporary plug in its pursuit of using Kennedy Lake as a water source and is instead eyeing a roughly $8 million upgrade to its current water system that would expand the town’s capacity while also cutting down on its notorious brown water woes.

“It would give us a significant increase in water supply and it would also add filtration to the system. Something that there has been concern in the community in my time here, for sure, and I know it’s been here for a long time, is the brown water issue; that would be significantly reduced with this new filtration system,” Ucluelet CAO Mark Boysen told the Westerly News. “We’d be adding filtration systems to our water supply system over the next couple of years, if we’re successful with this grant. So what they would do is start to alleviate, not all the time, but would significantly reduce the turbidity issue.”

Turbidity has been a consistent scapegoat for Ucluelet’s annual outrage from residents who periodically experience dark water pouring into cups, baths and laundry cycles. Ucluelet currently sources its water from four wells near the Tofino-Ucluelet junction as well as a secondary supply at Mercantile Creek.

“When the turbidity is high in the river coming down Mercantile Creek, we can’t use the water. But, when we have filtration in place, we could use the water more often so what that means is then we have increased capacity,” Boysen said adding a new reservoir would be included in the project. “Adding filtration means less turbidity, but also increased water supply…We’d have more flexibility in our system and that storage gives us more capacity, so we’d have fewer issues during the peak loads in the summertime.”

READ MORE: Water concerns pour into Ucluelet

The $8 million upgrade is contingent on a roughly $6 million grant the district expects to apply for this month, provided the town’s municipal council approves submitting the application, and Boysen said he hopes to know whether that application is successful by the end of the year.

“That would be ideal, to hear by the end of the year and then we could initiate the early stages of the project in 2021. That’s an ideal timeline,” he said.

The district had applied for a $45 million grant to put towards an estimated $55 million project to use Kennedy Lake as a water source, but the town’s priorities changed when that application was denied.

“That’s not a priority anymore for us,” Boysen said. “We really see Kennedy Lake as a regional water supply down the road. I think, eventually, there might be a need for a Kennedy Lake water project.”

READ MORE: Ucluelet eyes Kennedy Lake as potential water source for growing community

He added he was not surprised to see Ucluelet’s $45 million request turned down after Tofino received roughly $40 million from the federal and provincial governments for its wastewater treatment plant project.

“I’d say that if Tofino got their grant for their sewage system, it would be very unlikely that we were going to get another $45 million put our way,” he said.

“It’s reasonable to think that they don’t want to continually pump $50 million here and there into our region, but we have a lot going on and the provincial support has been great so far.”

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

He added the Kennedy Lake idea has not been scrapped entirely and the door is still open for regional conversations about a potential collaborative project, though he added that if the $8 million grant application is successful, Ucluelet would likely be all set to fulfill its water needs for the next 10 years.



andrew.bailey@westerlynews.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

READ MORE: Millstream water rates see heavy rise

READ MORE: Tofino lures City of Victoria’s top engineer

READ MORE: VIDEO: Ucluelet engages at open house

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COVID-19: Stepping away from the ordinary

Freelance writer Marcie Callewaert talks about her self-isolation in Ahousaht

Tofino-Ucluelet choir conductor launches singing contest

“What motivates me is making my community happy.”

Vancouver Island farmers demand on-site slaughter

COVID-19 pandemic puts supply chains at risk, says group

COVID 19: Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council, other First Nations mobilize resources

Some Indigenous communities are enacting emergency measures to cope during pandemic

Tofino and Ucluelet distilleries step up with hand sanitizer

Mass supply delivered to emergency operation centres in Tofino, Ucluelet, Bamfield and Port Alberni.

B.C. records five new COVID-19 deaths, ‘zero chance’ life will return to normal in April

Province continue to have a recovery rate of about 50 per cent

6.5-magnitude earthquake in Idaho shakes B.C. Interior

An earthquake was reportedly felt just before 5 p.m. throughout the Okanagan

John Horgan extends B.C.’s state of emergency for COVID-19

Premier urges everyone to follow Dr. Bonnie Henry’s advice

B.C.’s first community COVID-19 death was dentist ‘dedicated’ to health: lawyer

Vincent was 64 when he died on March 22 after attending the Pacific Dental Conference

Two inmates at prison housing Robert Pickton test positive for COVID-19

Correctional Service of Canada did not release any details on the identities of the inmates

BC SPCA launches matching campaign to help vulnerable animals after big donations

Two BC SPCA donors have offered up to $65,000 in matching donations

Quarantined B.C. mom say pandemic has put special-needs families in ‘crisis mode’

Surrey’s Christine Williams shares family’s challenges, strengths

Anti-tax group calls for MPs, senators to donate scheduled pay raises to charity

Bill C-30, adopted 15 years ago, mandates the salary and allowance increases each calendar year

Two arrested after man lies about COVID-19 illness to stay in Victoria Airbnb for free

Victoria Police found stolen goods inside the occupied unit

Most Read