Project expected to cost $58 million
CBRM wastewater upgrade expected to cost $58 million.
A $58-million upgrade to the Cape Breton Regional Municipality’s wastewater infrastructure has been given the green light following Ottawa’s commitment to fund one-third of the project’s cost.
Justice Minister Peter MacKay announced Tuesday that the federal government is contributing $19 million toward the 10-year undertaking that will involve the construction of a new wastewater collection system and treatment facility on the Westmount side of Sydney harbour.
“I know how much these kind of projects matter to people, so it is a real job for me to announce this,” said MacKay, who plans to retire from politics come the next national election.
The federal money comes from Ottawa’s $53-billion New Building Canada Plan.
The CBRM and the Nova Scotia government will also each be responsible for one-third of the cost of the project, which will create an estimated 270,000 hours of employment.
Matt Viva, manager of the CBRM’s wastewater operations, said the project is just one piece of the puzzle facing the CBRM in its efforts to meet strict effluent discharge guidelines by 2021.
“This is a giant step for us given that municipal wastewater effluence is the largest source of pollution by volume in Canada,” said Viva.
“But once this project is complete we will still have seven more to go, including Glace Bay, New Waterford and the Northside.”
It is estimated that it will cost about $450 million to bring the CBRM’s wastewater works up to the new federal standards.
Viva said the project involves considerable design and preparation work, but that he expects the excavation of collector lines could start as early as next year.
“The project couldn’t have come at a better time — all kinds of professionals are going to be needed and it means work for the engineering community, surveyors, contractors, labourers, operators and others,” he said.
The endeavour follows the recent completion of work on the east side of the harbour that consolidated raw sewage and wastewater from more than a dozen outfalls that is now sent to the Battery Point treatment plant located north of Victoria Park in Sydney’s north end.
The new project will consolidate three raw water outfalls and direct it to a new water treatment facility that Viva expects will be built in the Sydport Industrial Park.
Meanwhile, Membertou First Nation Chief Terry Paul applauded the initiative both for its environmental impact and for the jobs it will create.
“We all need our health and this will help make sure the environment will be looked after,” said Paul.
Federal Justice Minister Peter MacKay capped off a series of funding initiatives for Cape Breton with Tuesday’s announcement that Ottawa will contribute one-third of the cost of a $58-million wastewater collection system and treatment facility on the Westmount side of Sydney harbour.