As reported in our Jan. 3 issue, Blue River waterworks’ budget will decrease from $1.28 million last year to $1.22 million this year.
However, that doesn’t mean Thompson-Nicola Regional District actually spent the first amount in 2011, according to Thompson Headwaters (Area B) director Willow MacDonald.
In fact, the budget includes about $1.1 million for capital improvements that were not done last year. That money has been carried forward with the hope the work can be done in 2012.
“This is really a big issue in this town,” she said.
What the TNRD would like to do would be to dig up and replace the old pipes in the community’s water system.
Parts of the system date back to early in the 20th Century. Blue River was basically a CNR town back then and not much care was taken while installing the pipes. Some pipes were laid across what is now private property and hookups were put in the wrong places. As the system gets older, leaks have developed, some of them serious. MacDonald recalled whole sections of the town going without water several years ago because the leaks were so bad.
“It’s like a leaking tap, but many times more serious,” she said.
Replacing the pipes was supposed to begin about four years ago but the project was held up, mostly by difficulties in getting easements.
The Area B director said she believes the easement issues have been solved and the work will go ahead this year.
If it doesn’t, then a provincial government grant that would cover 3/4 of the cost would run out and the TNRD would have to develop new plans.
“This is the year we have to do it by,” said MacDonald. “I’m really looking forward to having our water system fixed.”