Work to begin on $58 million public works project in Westmount area

October 25, 2017

SYDNEY, NS – Tendering for engineering is about to begin for two major wastewater projects in Cape Breton Regional Municipality.

“We have reached an understanding and agreement with the provincial government in regards to wastewater project funding,” said Mayor Cecil Clarke. “We understand the project can now proceed without disqualifying us from applying for additional infrastructure funding for roads and facilities.”

The Cape Breton Regional Municipality, Government of Nova Scotia and Government of Canada are equally cost sharing a $58 million project to install a new collection system and treatment plant on the Westmount side of Sydney Harbour. When the project is complete, wastewater from 7,000 residents will be fully treated prior to being released into Sydney Harbour. Wastewater is a broad term to describe any water impacted by human activity, including sewage and drainage from stormwater systems.

The project, known as the Sydney Harbour West Collection and treatment project, will consolidate three untreated outfalls and direct the flow to a treatment plant located at Sydport, which will have one treated outfall.

Steve Gillespie, Councillor for District 4, is pleased to see the project begin. "This project had been in the minds of residents for a while now and today we can start the next phase of a cleaner harbour for all residents of the CBRM,” said Gillespie. “I would like to thank Mayor Cecil Clarke for his work on this file. Securing the proper funding for a major project such as this takes time and political experience.”

The first two years of the project will consist of design and geotechnical work, flow modeling, environmental risk assessments and an Aboriginal consultation process. Detailed design and construction activity is planned to begin in the third year.

The Sydney Harbour project is one of several still outstanding for Cape Breton Regional Municipality.  A $1.4 million, two-year pre-design project will conduct environmental risk assessment for all remaining wastewater treatment projects across CBRM.

Treatment plant options and collection system configurations will be assessed for the Northside, New Waterford, Glace Bay, Port Morien, New Victoria, Louisbourg and Donkin.

Cape Breton Regional Municipality estimates it will cost over $400 million to ensure the region’s widely scattered and aging wastewater systems meet federal regulations. The municipality, with 800 kilometres of ocean coastline, has 6 per cent of Canada’s outstanding wastewater infrastructure requirements.

“Per capita funding formulas for wastewater projects are inadequate,” added Clarke, noting the municipality’s share of projects far exceeds its share of population. “Placing the burden of 6 per cent of Canada’s wastewater projects on the backs of 100,000 people and asking for it to be finished in a decade requires a different funding model than what is currently in place.”

Once the treatment plants are built, officials estimate it will cost $10 million a year to maintain and operate the treatment plants, a 7 per cent increase to the municipality’s annual operating budget.