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Cost of North Vancouver water treatment plant climbs to nearly $4 billion

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Estimated cost of North Vancouver wastewater treatment plant increased to $3.86 billion.

Radio-Canada

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Construction of the long-awaited North Vancouver wastewater treatment plant will resume soon, according to Metro Vancouver, but it now comes with a much higher cost of $3.86 billion.

When construction of the facility began in 2018, the project was estimated to cost $700 million and ;factory was scheduled to be operational in December 2020.

However, the project hit major obstacles when Metro Vancouver terminated its contract (New window) with the company responsible for the design and construction of the new wastewater treatment plant.

Metro Vancouver Board Chairman George V. Harvie said in a statement that construction should continue.

The construction of a new wastewater treatment plant with a higher level of treatment is essential to comply with federal regulations and it is absolutely crucial that the facility is constructed to ensure the protection of human health and the environment in the future, he specifies.

Once operational, the treatment plant will serve more than 300,000 residents and businesses on the North Shore and provide tertiary filtration and decontamination. Metro Vancouver has indicated that tertiary filtration will reduce the release of potentially harmful contaminants into sensitive marine environments.

In 2021, Metro Vancouver severed ties with Acciona Wastewater Solutions due to long construction delays and increasing costs.

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Metro Vancouver then created a working group to study ways to move the project forward, adding that Acciona had only completed 30% of the construction and 80% of the design. Harvie says Metro Vancouver now has a viable path to complete the project.

Jerry Dobrovolny, commissioner and general manager of Metro Vancouver, confirms that the cost of building the treatment plant has increased.

In updating the cost estimate, Metro Vancouver took into consideration the many large infrastructure projects in the market today, all of which are competing for resources, the effect cumulative inflation of construction and labor costs, and the extensive work that was required to correct design and construction defects, he describes.

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Metro Vancouver says the new facility will treat wastewater from West Vancouver, the City of North Vancouver, the District of North Vancouver and the Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations.

With the new cost of $3.86 billion, Metro Vancouver specifies that households in the northern sector will have to pay $3.86 billion for the cost. an average increase of $725 over 30 years.

Furthermore, Metro Vancouver indicates that some costs of the project will be shared throughout the region:

Metro Vancouver adds that the costs of wastewater treatment, Drinking water and solid waste management are included in utility rates, property taxes, or a combination of both, depending on the municipality.

The rate per household also depends on the type of dwelling and use.

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A photo taken in winter 2021 shows construction work underway at the wastewater treatment plant.

The announcement of the increase in costs did not please officials on the North Shore.

North Vancouver District Mayor Mike Little, said he was extremely frustrated with the project.

I am concerned about the additional costs that district taxpayers will be forced to absorb to get the North Shore Wastewater Treatment Plant completed and operational, he wrote in a statement.

Linda Buchanan, mayor of the city of North Vancouver who sits on the Metro Vancouver board, admits that as a member, she must accept the board's decision. However, she said she is also concerned about the impact of rising costs on residents.

People deserve to have modern, affordable and fairly paid infrastructure, she believes.

Mr. Dobrovolny says Metro Vancouver is working on a long-term financial plan to show the provincial and federal governments the need for financial support.

The contract to complete construction is expected to be confirmed in the coming months, according to Metro Vancouver.

The regional government expects the sewage plant to be virtually completed in 2030, 10 years later than previously planned.

With information from Joel Ballard

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