POWELL RIVER, B.C.- A Federal Gas Tax Fund application has been approved for upgrades to the Van Anda Improvement District waterworks system.

Upgrading the system will assist the 250 ratepayers in the region, as well as local schools, businesses and the Van Anda fire service.

According to a release from the Powell River Regional District, the project is eligible for up to $864,508 in funding. The project is expected to start in Spring 2018.

The release states that upgrades will bring the water filtration system to a level that complies with the Drinking Water Protection Act, ending the need for boil water advisories in the area.

The increased water pressure from the distribution stream, as well as the new water tank, will also help improve firefighting capabilities. It will also reduce the amount of chlorine used and the volume of water processed.

“Community infrastructure is a cornerstone of our quality of life,” said Nicholas Simons, the MLA for Powell River-Sunshine Coast, in the release.

“Thanks to a partnership with all levels of government for this funding, which will improve the drinking water supply for the people in Van Anda, and to the community members who have advocated for this support.”

According to the release, the government of Canada provides over $278 million in funding for local government infrastructure projects through the Federal Gas Tax Fund.

The Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) administers the Federal Gas Tax Fund in BC, in partnership with the federal and provincial governments.

“Communities across BC are looking for funding to replace, upgrade and expand local infrastructure. The federal Gas Tax Fund is accelerating the pace of infrastructure renewal through the transfer of close to $3 billion since 2005 for projects in our province,” said Director Wendy Booth, President of the UBCM, in the release.

“I appreciate the Government of Canada’s long-term commitment to fund priorities identified by BC local governments.”

A full list of projects being funded through this intake can be viewed through the provincial government’s website.