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Whistler passed over for infrastructure grant

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Whistler will not get a "green" infrastructure grant from the federal and provincial governments to help upgrade the wastewater plant.

In the municipality’s 2002 budget it projects that $19 million will need to be spent on the water and sewage treatment plant. Fifty per cent of that budget is to come from outside grants.

West Vancouver Garibaldi MLA Ted Nebbeling said Whistler has benefited in the past from millions of dollars in infrastructure grants.

"I think Whistler can certainly say it has had its fair share of funding for water and sewage treatment projects," said Nebbeling.

"The sewage treatment plant in Function Junction has received millions and millions and million of dollars of support over the years.

"And Whistler was given the right to charge a development cost charge for the sewer projects, which meant that as a community we calculated the future needs cost of the sewage and water and that cost was added to new development.

"So altogether I think Whistler has really been very well served."

Mayor Hugh O’Reilly said the municipality will go ahead with some upgrades to the wastewater treatment plant this year, including reducing the odour from the facility.

Whistler has also been promised $15 million by the provincial government, to cover the second phase of renovations to the Whistler Conference Centre, if the World Economic Forum decides to hold its annual meeting in Whistler in 2004.

Squamish will receive about $7.5 million in infrastructure grants to upgrade the effluent pumping station and head works at its Mamquam sewage treatment plant.

A sewer main, a new primary clarifier, a secondary clarifier, a pump station, and a permanent sludge thickening facility will be built and the aeration tank will be modified.

This will allow the district to close and decommission its central plant and reduce operation and maintenance costs by consolidating all treatment at the Mamquam plant.

Nebbeling said applications for $2.1 billion in green projects were received. A total of $800 million is available.

The grants are for new capital projects and not for repair bills.

Devine also received $79,000 to develop a groundwater source to replace its surface water source. A well will be built and a kiosk providing power to the well site along with pressurized tanks for surge protection. These improvement will allow the boil water advisory to be lifted and provide more capacity for future growth.

Whistler has not been very successful in getting grants this year. Earlier, the resort received the second smallest transfer in unconditional provincial grants.

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