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Province calls on Feds to help replace Prince Rupert’s aged water system

B.C. ministers penned a letter requesting financial support and offering commitment
A water main break at Crestview and Applewaite was just one of the numerous breaks on Dec. 17, which caused Prince Rupert City Council to declare a local State of Emergency as crews and resources were stretched to repair the aging infrastructure. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)

The province supports the need for dire infrastructure repairs in Prince Rupert and called on the federal government to help pay for the replacement of the city’s aging water infrastructure in a letter dated Jan. 9.

The letter detailed the critical need for infrastructure repairs after the recent state of emergency declared in Prince Rupert and main breaks more than doubling in 2022 over 2021. The correspondence further explained since Dec. 16, the city had experienced five water main breaks and 21 service breaks throughout the municipality due to aged pipes.

Three provincial ministers, Anne Kang, Minister of Municipal Affairs, Rob Fleming, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, along with Brenda Bailey, Minister of Jobs, Economic Development and Innovations, jointly promised their commitment to the project. The letter requested the Government of Canada to help pay to replace the port city’s water distribution system. It was addressed to Dominic LeBlanc, the federal Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities.

“The Government of British Columbia will prioritize advancing resources to replace the aged water infrastructure in Prince Rupert and is calling on the federal government to partner in funding this multi-year water distribution system replacement,” the letter states.

“We expect that Canada will come to the table with financial support, along with contributions from our government and the city, to urgently move this project forward.”

Citing the Investing in Canada Infrastructure program, the letter states has been a great provincial-federal collaboration and one that the province has already fully utilized for other projects of need.

In December, North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice penned her own request to the Fed’s which outlined the severity of the issues in Prince Rupert due to the crumbling infrastructure. She drew attention to the December local State of Emergency. Her urgency was reiterated in the latest letter by the three ministers.

Both Rice’s letter and the Jan. 9 communication highlight the significance of Prince Rupert to the country’s import/export industry.

“Home to the third largest port in Canada, Prince Rupert plays a vital role in the supply chain not just for our province but in the export of Canadian natural resources. Ensuring the city is supported to resolve these challenges is imperative as further failures could have the potential to result in having to evacuate the community due to the water supply system for the city collapsing,” the Ministers wrote.

READ MORE: North Coast MLA pens letter to Feds outlining global implications and severity of failing water infrastructure in Prince Rupert

READ MORE: Prince Rupert’s state of emergency enters fifth day

 Kaitlyn Bailey | Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
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