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Wastewater treatment plant design decisions coming soon

POWELL RIVER, B.C. – The City of Powell River is weighing the final options for the new pipeline route at the new wastewater treatment facility.

Two options were proposed at the City of Powell River’s Committee of the Whole meeting on April 17th, 2018.

The pipes would transfer wastewater from Westview to the new facility. In a release, the Director of Infrastructure for the city, Tor Birtig, said the pathway running through Willingdon Beach Trail is the preferred option, based on cost assessments.

“Following the trail will be significantly more affordable operationally than following the highway, due to the significant pumping equipment and process needed to get wastewater up and over the hill,” he stated in the release.

According to the city, several residents have voiced concerns with the Willingdon Beach Trail proposal. One of the main concerns is that this could alter and disrupt organisms in the natural and well-used trail. The city release stated that the trail would be restored to its original condition after the installation of the underground pipe system.

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“We understand the importance of protecting and preserving the Willingdon Beach Trail,” stated lead engineer on the project, Tom Robinson, with Associated Engineering.

“We have studied the proposed route with a design objective of not causing any significant disturbance to trees and root systems.” Robinson’s team includes a professional arborist, to ensure the safety of the natural habitat.

Two Environmental Impact Studies (EIS) are taking place as part of the project. One is focused on the discharge to the marine environment, while a second study is looking at the construction impacts, including stream assessments along the Willingdon Beach Trail and at the wastewater treatment plant.

There is also an archaeological study underway, to see if there are any known or undocumented heritage sites within the project area.

Aquilla Archaeology’s Colleen Parsley said in the release that “no adverse impacts are anticipated to archaeological or cultural sites along the Willingdon Beach Trail, or at the proposed consolidated wastewater treatment plant.”

“Our work for the City has increased the knowledge about the ancient cultural use of these areas. Our goal is to protect these areas and work to avoid them in projects such as this.”

At its May 3rd meeting, council will make its decision on the conveyancing route.

On May 1st, City staff will put forward two new options for the exterior design of the facility and will seek public input over a two-week period.

An online survey will be made available, and there will be a public open house on May 10th, 2018.

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