By David Archibald
Feb. 16, 2012
Charlottetown announced today the launching of a major sewer system project that will begin this year.
The project is a combined effort between the City of Charlottetown and the provincial government. They are still waiting on word from the federal government for a commitment of more than $3 million.
Charlottetown Mayor Clifford Lee said he is very confident the federal government will contribute down the road when a new federal stimulus program takes place in 2014.
“We have every expectation and reason to believe that it will be accepted by the government of Canada,” said Lee. “It’s pretty difficult for the government of Canada to guarantee something before they even announce the actual program in 2014.”
The estimated total cost of the four stage project is $18.8 million. The $3 million the federal government is being relied on for will add up to one third of phase four.
The provincial government has agreed to contribute more than $6 million in total. Of that, $2 million will be spent this year and $4 million will flow as the province advances over the next two years.
Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal Minister Robert Vessey said the project will greatly improve Charlottetown’s harbour.
“Sewage overflows and harbour closures will be a thing of the past,” said Vessey. “The province is committed to a clean and healthy environment.”
“Projects like the one announced here today, show that great things can happen when the provincial government and local municipalities work together towards a common goal.”
The City of Charlottetown will chip in $1 million for each phase of the project. In order to meet this contribution, Charlottetown residents will see their water and sewer rates increase by an extra $30 per year. This increase will be implemented on April 1, 2012.
Councilor Cecil Villard said that the $30 per year is the only increase water and sewer customers will see.
“There will be no regular annual increase on top of this $30,” said Villard. “This is assuming there will be an applicable infrastructure program available in 2014 which will bring the federal government onside with this project.
“Indications from the Infrastructure Canada website show there will be a new stimulus package in 2014 that will coincide with the third phase.”
Councilor Eddie Rice said the project is immense and will require a lot of diligence to meet its time requirements.
“This is going to be a very, very tight project. Hopefully we can complete it by 2014 or at least be well on our way if we do have to go over.”
Rice hopes the project will bring Charlottetown back to what it was.
“We’ll have a pollution-free harbour that we hope will benefit tourism, our residents and all the people that come and play here. It’s not just being done for the fishing industries, it’s being done for everybody across the province that wants to come into Charlottetown.”
In depth details will be released to the public on March 27th when it officially passes through the city’s budget.
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