The federal government has rejected a grant application from Kemp Lake Water Distribution to connect to the Capital Regional District waterworks system.
KLWD needs to improve its water system to meet the Vancouver Island Health Authority’s drinking water guidelines.
The project would see the Kemp Lake water main extended along West Coast to the CRD water system at Erinan Boulevard.
“I’m deeply saddened that the government didn’t see this as a worthwhile project and give us the grant,” said Mike Hicks, CRD director for Juan de Fuca and a member of the water commission.
“We still have to fix the water system. We either go it alone or wait for another round of grants.”
The project is estimated to cost $1.8 million of which $1.6 million would likely be covered by senior governments.
Kevan Brehart, chair of the KLWD board, said the Small Community Grant application met all the criteria, but wasn’t OK’d for funding.
Another round of grant applications is expected in the new year, but no date has been set.
Kemp Lake Water Distribution has been working with the CRD and VIHA for more than five years on the project with several engineering and water quality studies undertaken.
The KLWD looked at several options including building a new water treatment plant and hooking up to the CRD system. Two years ago it was decided to work within the CRD system.
“It’s been an ongoing process, and the whole time we’ve been working with VIHA,” Brehart said.
The Health Ministry wants to standardize community drinking water throughout the province. It will meet with the CRD and KLWD officials soon to discuss what the next steps are for the Kemp Lake system.
“It’s not a case of the water being deadly, and we have to do something about it tomorrow,” Brehart said. “It’s just a case that our system doesn’t meet the new standards for treatment.”
Brehart said if a second intake of grant applications begin early next year, it would likely be another year – if the grant is successful – before work could begin on the project.