Hay River faces gap in water treatment plant funding

Drone photos of the winter breakup along Hay River. More flooding could be coming to the area due to rainfall. (Supplied by Brad Mapes.)
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The Town of Hay River is looking to make up a funding gap as it plans to start design work on a new water treatment plant.

The town only received money to cover 50 per cent of the $450,000 — from the federally funded Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program — they had budgeted for the feasibility study, rather than the 75 per cent they were hoping for.

But Senior Administrative Officer Glenn Smith says the gap shouldn’t cause any delays.

Smith said the money could come from the town’s infrastructure funding or money made from the carbon tax or other funding applications. He added the town could also look at cutting costs for the project.

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The town’s current water treatment plant is over 40-years old. Municipal and Community Affairs said in a report back in October of last year that the current plant is showing signs of degradation, and isn’t big enough to have new filters installed which would bring the plant up to standard.

Grace Lau-a, the Community Operations Director at Municipal and Community Affairs (MACA) says communities like Hay River are seeing more seasonal changes come spring time, like higher water levels.

She added Hay River’s water treatment point is the most suspect to higher turbidity, because it is an older plant. 

The MACA report recommended Hay River constructs a new water treatment plant, at an estimated cost of $15 million. Finding that kind of capital would be a significant challenge for the town, councillor Keith Dohey said during a town council meeting.

MACA recommended the work begin in the next five years. Smith said work on the feasibility study should be done around fall 2022, at which point those plans can be reviewed and potential construction can move forward.

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