Plans proceeding for new water tower in Smiths Falls
Keen to take advantage of a new stream of funding available through the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP) – Green Stream, staff in Smiths Falls have been sifting through the town’s Asset Management Plan to identify projects that would be eligible for the federal/provincial fund.
“Funding under the program will be considered for up to 73.33 percent of the total eligible costs,” explained Troy Dunlop, Director of Public Works and Utilities.
That amount is however capped at $3 million per project.
While staff identified three possible projects, the one that floats to the top is the new water tower.
“It’s profoundly important, we know the tower needs to be replaced,” Said Mayor Shawn Pankow. “We know we have insufficient storage today in a tower that is now 100-years old.”
The town’s current water storage capacity is split between the old water tower that holds 900 cubic meters of water and the Water Treatment Plant reservoir that holds 2,500 cubic meters of water. The Ministry of Environment recommends twice that amount of water storage at about 6,300 cubic meters, for a town the size of Smiths Falls.
“The town’s Asset Management Plan (AMP) had originally placed the construction of a new water tower as a community priority over the years 2019 and 2020,” wrote Dunlop in his report to committee.
The town already has the required Schedule B Class environmental assessment done, identifying Air Care Drive as the most suitable location for a new water tower.
The town also has support from the Ministry of the Environment.
“One of the real strengths, is we will have an endorsement letter from the Ministry of the Environment for this project, they reached out to us,” said Dunlop.
The total Class D estimate for the work on the tower structure and site comes in at somewhere between $6 milion and $7.1 million.
“This is one of the biggest capital projects the town will undertake in the next few years,” explained Mayor Shawn Pankow. “Even though the percentage of the total project is limited based on the capping of this funding program, if we can get $3 million through this program I think it enables us to get, maybe not half way, but well on our way to getting this project completed.
“We can use OCIF funding to supplement, the funding for the project, but Federal Gas Tax cannot be used for the building of the water tower. We could funnel Gas Tax funds into the distribution networks that will have to be developed,” said Dunlop.
After some deliberation, committee was unanimous in its support of the staff recommendation.
“This is a multi-year project and we can spend the next couple of years investing in reserves to fund the balance of this project,” concluded Councillor Wendy Alford.