2022 Elector Assent Voting (Referendum) - Wastewater Treatment Plant Borrowing
The information presented on this page will help inform you about the upcoming Elector Assent Voting (Referendum) taking place on October 15th, 2022 and advanced voting days in conjunction with the General Local Elections.
The objective of the Elector Assent Voting (referendum) process is to determine whether the electors approve of the City borrowing of up to $35,000,000 to help fund the replacement of the existing wastewater treatment plant with a new facility.
During advanced voting opportunities and on election day, City of Kimberley voters will be asked to provide a "YES" or "NO" response to the following question:
"Are you in favour of City Council adopting the City of Kimberley Wastewater Treatment Plant Loan Authorization Bylaw No. 2703, 2022, which authorizes the City of Kimberley to borrow up to thirty five million dollars ($35,000,000) to be repaid over a period not to exceed thirty years (30) in order to finance the costs of constructing a wastewater treatment facility and associated infrastructure?"
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Public Information Session
Join us on Wednesday, September 28, 2022 at 7:00 pm at City Hall for a public information session. City staff will outline the project and budget and answer your questions on the proposed Wastewater Treatment Plant and the upcoming Elector Assent Voting (referendum).
Please review the attached Information Package as provided to Council on August 8th, 2022, which provides in-depth information on the proposed Wastewater Treatment Plant, the project budget, proposed funding sources and detailed info on the impact to Kimberley residents.
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Total Expected Capital Expenditure: $95,220,375
Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program - Green Infrastructure - Environmental Quality Program Grant Application (status pending): $69,825,101
Borrowing Requirements (status pending): $23,225,000
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Frequently Asked Questions
Built in 1967 and upgraded in 1979, the existing Pollution Control Centre (PCC) is nearing the end of its serviceable life. Due to ongoing operation and maintenance difficulties and its struggle to meet current treatment standards, the City has determined that replacement is a priority for our community. The facility is also located within the St. Mary River 200 year floodplain increasing risk to downstream communities and ecosystems.
The PCC has been deemed by the BC Ministry of Environment as "the highest risk sewer treatment plant in the East Kootenay during freshet or storm events due to its age, lack of redundancy and automation and the risk of potential impacts to recreational waters, downstream water users and the discharge to trans boundary waters from potential upset conditions due to equipment failure.
In 2017, the City of Kimberley secured a $2.6-million grant to undertake engineering to design a new treatment plant based on the Organica Food Chain Reactor (FCR) technology. The FCR system includes a large greenhouse and an attached process building which will house administration and equipment.
The FCR technology is a stable wastewater treatment solution that requires a relatively low level of long-term operational effort and includes all Municipal Waste Regulation requirements and redundancy. The new plant will also address odour and noise issues by containing the entire treatment process within the building structure. The new plant will support Kimberley's climate resiliency by utilizing reclaimed water as process water within the building itself and will allow for future reclaimed water uses.
The new plant's social footprint will highlight to the public the processes necessary to maintain a healthy water environment. The greenhouses will enhance the natural surroundings to become an attraction for residents and visitors.
Food Chain Reactor (FCR) process infographic.
The Kimberley Wastewater Treatment Plant will look much like the Sechelt Plant pictured below, incorporating large greenhouses that use Food Chain Reaction to treat wastewater.
As outlined above the total 2022 capital expenditure is $95,220,375.
Project financing will come from three sources:
- Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program - Green Infrastructure - Environmental Quality Program Grant Application (status pending): $69,825,101
- Borrowing Requirements (status pending): $23,225,000
- Reserves: $2,170,274
Why are we being asked to approve borrowing of $35,000,000 when borrowing requirements are $23,225,000?
In early 2022, the City applied for a grant in the amount of $69,825,101 to fund 73.33% of the total cost of the Wastewater Treatment Plant Project. If the grant is successful, the anticipated grant funds would not be provided to the City in advance, rather, as expenditures are incurred, grant claims will have to be submitted to the funder quarterly to request reimbursement. As such, the City is required to finance the grant eligible expenditures until grant funds are received which will require cash on hand.
Through discussions with the Municipal Finance Authority, it was suggested to help mitigate this potential risk to the City's cash flow, that the figure specified in the loan authorization bylaw as the maximum amount to be borrowed be set at an amount greater than the $23,225,000 needed to construct the WWTP project to allow room for some interim borrowing (if needed) to provide cash flow until the grant funds are received. Therefore, it is proposed that the bylaw specifies $35,000,000 as the maximum amount to be borrowed.
Please note that the bylaw amount of $35,000,000 represents the maximum that can be borrowed and that the municipality is not obligated to borrow the full amount if it is not required. Any borrowing that is undertaken to provide interim cash flow will be repaid when the grant funds are fully received leaving the long-term borrowing that will ultimately be incurred to construct the WWTP project at the proposed $23,225,000.
Council has directed that the debt servicing costs associated with the construction of the new WWTP be funded through the collection of a Parcel Tax. A preliminary estimate of the annual parcel tax levy pending finalization of the interest rate and the parcel count is $277.
Parcel Taxes are levied on the unit, frontage or area of a property and can only be levied on properties that are currently receiving (or have a reasonable opportunity to receive) a specific service. As an example, if a sewer line affronts a property and the property is not connected to that line, that property may still be liable to pay a sewer parcel tax because it has the opportunity to connect. This may also apply even if there is no sewer line, but there is a firm plan to build a sewer line within a reasonable period of time.
The new wastewater treatment plant will be located above the St. Mary River floodplain on City-owned land between Marysville Falls and the Purcell Golf course at 700 302nd Ave.
The new WWTP is a fully enclosed facility with odour and noise control. It is designed to virtually eliminate odour and process equipment noise for surrounding neighbours. Some delivery and removal equipment noise may be present from time to time as supplies are brought to the site and waste is removed.
The existing Pollution Control Centre (PCC) will be decommissioned, demolished and removed from the site. The land will be recommended for remediation into riparian wetland and parkland along the banks of the St. Mary's River and Mark Creek creating improved access to the waterways for the public.
Wastewater includes anything that goes down your household drain including water in sinks, dishwashers, washing machines and toilets. Wastewater can contain a number of different pollutants and waste products, including soap, food scraps, human waste, oils, fats and other chemicals that may be placed into the collection system. Commercial wastewater also contributes to wastewater treated at the plant and can contain many and varied pollutants.
Please view the 2022 General Local Elections webpage on the City of Kimberley website for details.
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Do you have questions about the upcoming Assent Voting (referendum) or the new wastewater treatment plant? Join us at the public information session on September 28th at City Hall at 7:00 pm or email email@example.com.