UBCM representative Art Kaehn

Government grants Houston $3 million for water treatment plant

The Government of Canada is giving $3 million to the District of Houston to cover 70 per cent of the cost for a water treatment plant.

The Government of Canada is giving $3 million to the District of Houston for a water treatment plant.

Bob Zimmer, member of parliament for Prince George to Peace River; Art Kaehn, Union of B.C. Municipalities representative; and Barbara Lee Gale, constituency assistant for MLA John Rustad, all came to Houston for the announcement last Tuesday morning.

MP Zimmer announced to gathered members of the public and town council, that through the Gas Tax Fund, government will cover 70 per cent of Houston’s $4.28 million proposed water treatment plant.

“This new water treatment facility will ensure that Houston residents have access to clear and reliable drinking water for years to come,” said MP Zimmer.

“Our government is pleased to be helping your community and others across the province to build safe and effective water infrastructure. This investment will improve drinking water, and lower manganese levels in the water to make it look clearer and taste better,” he said.

He added that the project will also strengthen the local economy and create good local jobs.

The Gas Tax Fund is now a permanent $2 billion program, part of Canada’s Economic Action Plan which has created over 900,000 jobs since July 2009, said Zimmer, adding that that is the strongest job growth by far among the G7 countries throughout the economic recovery.

On behalf of UBCM executive, Kaehn expressed appreciation for MP Zimmer and the federal government for their commitment to improve community infrastructure, and commended Houston mayor and council for their hard work in getting the grant.

He also thanked the provincial government for their help in assessing applications for the grant, which is funded by the federal government and administered with help from provincial government and UBCM.

Rustad says Houston council and community, and CAO Linda Poznikoff, put a lot of work and hours into the grant application, along with help from Rustad’s staff, and it made a big difference.

The other thing that helped was the supportive pressure of Premier Christy Clark and Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development Bill Bennett, whom Houston mayor and council met with at the recent UBCM conference, Rustad said.

He says the reason Houston was previously unsuccessful in getting the grant is because the water actually meets health standards.

“That’s why the additional push was needed,” he said, adding that he worked with both Houston council and Premier Clark to put emphasis behind the project.

Mayor Bill Holmberg expressed thanks for MLA John Rustad’s work in getting the grant for Houston, and thanked the members of council.

“We’ve been two terms fighting to get this done, and in conjunction with senior staff we’ve finally got it done,” said Holmberg.

“Thank you very much everyone,” he said.