Faulder taxpayers get another break

By Jeff Lawrence - Penticton Western News March 19, 2009

Government money keeps on pouring into the South Okanagan for new infrastructure projects, and the small community of Faulder is once again benefitting from the cash.

B.C.'s Towns For Tomorrow program will send $653,000 to the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen for projects including the Faulder Water Well project.

"Because of this generous donation, the cost of this project will decrease for Faulder residents," said Penticton mayor and Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen chair Dan Ashton.

The small community west of Summerland received good news two weeks ago, when it was announced it would receive $610,000 in funding from the provincial and federal governments to build a new water treatment facility. Faulder's water was receiving attention due to trace elements of uranium found that were in excess of government standards.

That $610,000, plus Wednesday's announced $332,800, will go toward digging a new water well in Faulder — a necessary project after it had been discovered last year that the existing well was nearly dry — will almost entirely pay for Faulder's water system upgrade.

The project is estimated to cost more than $1 million. Taxpayers of the small community consisting of around 80 homes will pay for the remaining amount.

But because of overlapping grants that are only meant to cover a certain percentage of the project's entire cost — the first was under the Building Canada program, the second from Towns For Tomorrow — RDOS is unsure how much will be left on the bill for taxpayers, said engineering services manager Andrew Reeder.

"We will have that information pretty shortly. We were surprised we got the grant, we're glad that we've got it, and really we need to now just find out what that exactly translates to dollars for the residents," he said, adding RDOS will have exact costs within the next couple of weeks.

Also included in the $653,000 funding is $214,787 for the Small Community and Regional District Grant, part of a restructuring of provincial grant programs to give communities more money quickly.

The Towns For Tomorrow program is part of provincial government spending of $14-billion on infrastructure, with the goal of creating more jobs and improving communities in B.C.

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