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NDP pledges $11 million to complete Mission’s unfinished sewer-line project if re-elected

Candidates Pam Alexis, Bob D’Eith, Selina Robinson make announcement under Mission Bridge Oct. 15
B.C. NDP candidate for the Abbotsford-Mission riding Pam Alexis, incumbent candidate for Maple Ridge-Mission Bob D’Eith joined Coquitlam-Maillardville candidate Selina Robinson to make a joint announcement under the Mission Bridge on Oct. 15. Patrick Penner photo.

The B.C. NDP have pledged $11 million in provincial funding for Mission’s unfinished sewer-pipe-twinning project to Abbotsford if re-elected.

B.C. NDP candidate for the Abbotsford-Mission riding Pam Alexis, and incumbent candidate for Maple Ridge-Mission, Bob D’Eith joined Coquitlam-Maillardville candidate, Selina Robinson to make a joint announcement under the Mission Bridge on Oct. 15.

“Twinning this pipeline and protecting the Fraser is a priority issue for the people of Mission and Abbotsford,” Alexis said. “We’ve been hoping for and expecting action by the federal government, but it’s John Horgan and the B.C. NDP who are stepping up for our community and the Fraser River.”

The aging 36-year-old pressurized sewer line has operated at capacity for years, and according to a report to Mission council on Aug. 6, 2019, it could fail at any time.

If the pipe were to burst it would cause an environmental disaster, the report said, sending an estimated 11 million litres of raw sewage and toxic industrial waste into the Fraser River everyday under repairs could be made.

The estimated cost of to complete project sits at $31 million. The province’s contribution would come from the Recovery Investment Fund – the NDP plan to invest in community infrastructure projects across B.C.

In 2017, $7 million was secured for the project, with the federal government contributing $4.2 million under the Clean Water and Waste Water Fund, the province contributing $2.7 million and the district covering the remaining $1.4 million.

But the actual price of the project went way over the initial estimates, as rising construction and labour costs and new U.S. tariffs on aluminum and steal led to cost-overruns.

“We’re on the clock for this project, with the threat of the burst pipe hanging over us,” D’Eith said. “With this investment, we’re two thirds of the way to getting this pipeline started – and a partnership between our government and the municipality will send a strong message to Ottawa that it has to be apart of the solution.”

The new pipe is already installed under shores of both Abbotsford and Mission, but the dredging of the riving to complete the 950 metre under-water portion has waited on addition funds.

Mission’s MP, Brad Vis, will be asking the federal government for an extension on the March 21, 2021 deadline to complete the project.

Robinson, who served as the NDP Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing until the election, said phoning Ottawa about this funding will be one of the first things their government does if re-elected.

“The reality is the federal government is putting together some significant infrastructure programs as part of their pandemic response,” Robinson said. “We’re very confident that they’ll come in and match.”

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