Council approves West Quesnel application

City Council has approved the decision to submit an application to the New Build Canada Small Communities fund for a new production well.

  • Mar. 22, 2016 6:00 p.m.


Observer Reporter

City Council has approved the decision to submit an application to the New Build Canada Small Communities fund for a new production well in the area of Sugarloaf Ball Park in the amount of $1 million with completion by 2017.

The estimated cost of the new production well is $750,000 with the cost of piping the water into the distribution system, not included in the price.

There will also be a contingency of up to 20 per cent that will be included for installation costs which can escalate quickly.

Director of Infrastructure and Capital Works, Ken Coombs says there is no ceiling on the amount that they could have approved.

“My understanding is if this project is estimated at $1.1 million and that’s what we put the application in for, we in fact could receive the full $1.1 million,” Coombs said.

“I’m a little skeptical to use the million dollar figure that was identified in the 2015 five-year Capital Works Plan.”

In 2012 BC Groundwater investigated the existing ground water supply and had three recommendations for future need that included: rehabilitation of production well (PW7); undertake an environmental assessment on well fields that would lead to an environmental certificate being issued that allows increased production when needed; and construction of a new production well by 2017.

Coombs said that when the report was written, the author did not realize PW7 had been recently re-developed and the city is currently in the process of an environmental assessment on our well fields with the goal of obtaining an environmental certificate to pump existing wells (when required) at rates of greater than 75 litres/ second.

With the new production well, the City will meet the maximum day demands and provide redundancy in the event of a well breakdown. Also the City would be in a position to decommission two of the oldest wells in the west region.

Mayor Bob Simpson asked the question if they would accrue any operational savings with the decommissioning of the two wells.

“Very little,” Coombs said.

“We’ve kept those two wells on line for a little bit of redundancy in the system in West Quesnel. PW3 was installed in 1958 and it fowled right off, so it produces little or no water and PW6 isn’t much better.

“In the event of losing the pipe connecting to West Quesnel over the Moffat bridge we’ve been reluctant to deactivate these wells.

“Once we have a production well in West Quesnel we would take those off line and the new production well would be an energy efficient system.”

In 2015 the City of Quesnel Capital Works Program included $244,000 for exploratory drilling for a new production well, identified as the Sugar Loaf Ball Park.

The west region was identified as an area of concern because there is only one single water mainline across the Moffat Bridge to provide water to West Quesnel.

Simpson wanted to ensure council they were not voting on the project, merely submitting an application.

“We’re putting in a submission for something that is potentially 100 per cent funding,” Simpson said.

“We also may have to share a portion of this which is an option as well.”

Directing his attention to Corporate and Financial Services director Kari Bolton, Simpson went on to say, “that share would come out of our water reserve, so it’s already in the bank which is a reserve we have for this purpose. What we’re attempting to do here is get someone else to pay for this project and hence you want that buffer.

“That’s why there is such a large contingency because once you get into this project as Director Coombs has pointed out there is going to be unknowns, which will give us the buffer that we need and will cover up to the actual cost of the project.”



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