In the inaugural meeting of Kimberley’s new city council, members voted to move ahead with the loan application for a new wastewater treatment plant.
City staff will send a copy of the City of Kimberley Wastewater Treatment Plant Loan Authorization Bylaw to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs.
Kimberley will borrow a significant sum of money, up to $35-million, to complete the project.
After some time, the city will then apply for a Certificate of Approval from the Inspector of Municipalities.
Mayor Don McCormick said the project is necessary because the current plant is outdated and is at the end of its useful life.
“The existing plant dated back to the ’60s and got one upgrade in 1978 or thereabouts,” said McCormick. “The technology has changed over time, and more importantly: the regulation the plant must conform to are more strict over time. We’re at a point with this plant, where we’re having trouble staying within those constraints.”
The decision by city council will push the new wastewater treatment plant closer to becoming a reality.
“There is a very long and detailed process involved because of the amount of money and borrowing involved. It’s all to make sure taxpayer money is spent appropriately,” said McCormick.
This decision follows a referendum, where a significant portion of residents voted in favour of the planned borrowing.
“We had an overwhelming 86 per cent approval rating from residents to borrow money to replace the wastewater treatment plant,” said McCormick. “All of the checkpoints we have gone through are requirements to qualify for the grants if we qualify.”
The mayor noted that grant funding will cover 73 per cent of the cost of the new plant and the city is responsible for the rest.
The remainder will come from borrowing and cash reserves.
“That borrowing actually does not come into effect until after the facility is actually built. We’re looking at borrowing in the 2025 or 2026 timeframe,” said McCormick. “In the meantime, construction will take place and the city will carry the cost of construction until we borrow it.”
The cost to the taxpayer will be determined by the interest rates at the time of borrowing and inflationary costs impacting the project’s budget.
“Big projects like this, that are multi-year in the current financial environment we’re in, are definitely not for the faint of heart,” said McCormick.