Abbotsford water project set for $66m infusion

A contribution from the P3 Canada Fund will help bolster a city plan for a PPP to revamp its water service. Meanwhile, Abbotsford is pushing its public information campaign forward.

The city of Abbotsford, British Columbia, received a C$65.7 million (€46.7 million; $65.9 million) investment via the P3 Canada Fund toward a public-private partnership (PPP) to revamp its water service.

The envisioned PPP, named the Stave Lake Water Project, would “deliver a long-term” water supply solution for the city, said Ed Fast a member of parliament for Abbotsford.

Abbotsford devised the Stave Lake Water Project after determining its existing water service would be inadequate for meeting consumption demand by 2016. The project would entail building a new pump station, treatment plant and water main, while also creating a new water source.

The city has billed water “the single most important resource” in infrastructure.

PPP Canada, a federal government agency in charge of operating the P3 Canada Fund, has “seen tremendous interest” in water and wastewater, said Greg Melchin, chairman of the board at PPP Canada.

Melchin described Stave Lake as the “first large P3 in the [water] sector” for Canada.

The investment from the P3 Canada Fund followed an information campaign Abbotsford launched in October.

The city built a Website (www.stavelakeproject.com) to educate its public on the would-be PPP.

Abbotsford commenced its information campaign because voter approval is needed in order to provide public funding for Stave Lake.

A November 19 vote will determine if Abbotsford can allot C$230 million in public money for the project. The P3 Canada Fund investment will provide the remaining financing needed.

In its public information campaign, Abbotsford stressed the city would “retain control of the water source.” Should Stave Lake succeed, the city would require no further expansion of its water service until 2031, according to the project's website.

The PPP would involve a consortium established to design, build, finance and operate the Stave Lake Water Project.