On Dec. 16, Marcus Powlowski, Member of Parliament for Thunder Bay–Rainy River announced that the government of Canada is investing $1 million though the Green Infrastructure Stream of the Investing in Canada plan for the Atikokan sewage works rehabilitation project.
The provincial government is providing approximately $972, 373, while the Town of Atikokan is contributing $779,073.
Through the Investing in Canada plan, the government of Canada is investing more than $180 billion over 12 years in public transit projects, green infrastructure, social infrastructure, trade and transportation routes, and Canada’s rural and northern communities.
The project will involve the rehabilitation of Atikokan’s existing sewage treatment plant and five pumping stations. It also includes the replacement of three blowers and an aeration system to reduce operating costs and energy consumption.
The changes that will occur to the pump stations will include some upgrades to the pumps themselves, as well as the inclusion of flow metres in order to measure the flow coming out of the plant which currently is not possible.
There will be a few other upgrades to the SCADA system as well. This computer system is used for process monitoring and gathering data which will help the pump stations to be in continual communication with the sewage treatment plant.
The upgrades will increase the reliability and improve the performance of the sewage system while decreasing maintenance costs and improving efficiency.
“Environmentally, this is a step forward,” Powlowski said. “Plus, somebody’s going to have to do the work so there are jobs out there whether they’re in Atikokan or outside contractors who will be coming to Atikokan.”
Dave Smith, parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines and Indigenous Affairs and Member of Provincial Parliament for Peterborough-Kawartha, said that it is hard to talk about sewage and excitement in the same sentence, but that it is less exciting when you have a problem with sewage.
Smith adds that this is a proactive measure to make sure the Town of Atikokan has everything it needs for sewage capacity.
“It really does show that when all three levels of government get together and recognize where there’s a challenge and something that can be addressed and addressed in an efficient, effective way, it can be done,” Smith said.
Dennis Brown, Mayor of Atikokan, said that it was a special day for Atikokan as they have been waiting some time for the funding but it is not just about the repairs, it is an investment in the community.
“Infrastructure is a big concern in Atikokan and we’re glad to be making some progress with this,” Brown said.