Residents of Ashcroft have voted to approve Water Treatment Plant Upgrades Loan Authorization Bylaw 809, 2016 in a referendum held on September 17. Approval of the bylaw will allow the village to borrow up to $4.1 million to construct a new water treatment plant.
Grants totalling $5.7 million from the provincial and federal governments were received in 2015 for the project.
A total of 422 voters cast their ballots in the referendum, with 313 in favour of authorizing the borrowing request and 106 opposed. There were three spoiled ballots that were not counted.
“I’m very pleased with the result,” says Ashcroft mayor Jack Jeyes. “It appears the people of Ashcroft definitely want a new water treatment plant, and recognize that it will ensure safe, good water.
“This will also be considered when people are looking for a place to live and do business. In my experience, when people come to Ashcroft they are very surprised that we have to have turbidity warnings and occasional boil water advisories.”
While admitting that the “no” votes “baffle” him, he adds that he recognizes that a portion of the community is opposed to the new water treatment plant. “We need to work with those people to bring them to yes. This will involve consistent communication to keep people involved with what’s happening.”
In July, council approved a predesign work program submitted by project engineering firm Urban Systems. It will include project field work; the development of a site plan; membrane filtration treatment predesign, with suppliers of membrane systems invited to bid; and the determination of electrical requirements.
When the predesign work has been completed, a summary report will be presented to council for review and discussion. It will also be presented to residents at a public meeting.
Jeyes says the ultimate goal is to get to the stage of tendering the project for construction. While there is no date yet for when construction will start, he anticipates this will be late in 2017 or early in 2018.
When construction is finished and the new water treatment plant is up and running, it will “take Ashcroft into the future as far as water quality is concerned,” says Jeyes. “I think the residents of Ashcroft should be proud of themselves for ensuring we have clean, safe water in the future.”