A calamity with Prince Rupert’s failing drinking water system is likely if replacement is not completed promptly and Skeena Bulkley MP Taylor Bachrach is now added to the list of politicians calling on the Federal government to step up and help the municipality.
“There is now a very real risk of catastrophic failure of the city’s drinking water distribution system, which would profoundly affect its 12,000 residents and the operation of the port,” Bachrach stated in a Jan. 19 letter to Federal Infrastructure Minister Dominic LeBlanc.
In his letter urging Le Blanc to provide funding Bachrach emphasized that Canada’s third-largest port, is vital to Canada’s supply chain. The letter was cc’d to Prince Rupert Mayor Herb Pond; Omar Alghabra, Minister of Transport; Anne Kang, B.C. Minister of Municipal Affairs and MLA Jennifer Rice, North Coast.
“With the city and province already at the table, a significant federal contribution is now essential to addressing Prince Rupert’s most critical infrastructure needs,” said Bachrach, who serves as both the NDP’s transport critic and deputy infrastructure critic. “My office is fully engaged in ensuring a successful outcome.”
“As Member of Parliament for Skeena-Bulkley Valley, I urge you to act swiftly on this issue and confirm that your government will come to the table as a funding partner. The sooner federal funding is confirmed, the sooner vital infrastructure replacement can occur and the less likely future states of emergency will be,” Bachrach stated in the letter.
Bachrach explained the situation to draw attention to the severity of the problem when Prince Rupert’s mayor and council declared a local state of emergency in December after a succession of water main breaks during inordinately cold weather.
“They have informed me that the age and condition of the city’s water distribution infrastructure put it at risk of cavitation, a scenario in which multiple water mains collapse, leaving the entire city without drinking water. City crews worked extremely hard over the holidays to repair the water main breaks; however, the longer-term risk remains a serious one.”
The MP said if the federal government is serious about the resilience of Canada’s supply chain, it needs to be serious about Prince Rupert’s current infrastructure challenge.
Bachrach plans to present the city’s case to Minister LeBlanc in person once Parliament returns for its spring session.
K-J Millar | Editor and Multimedia Journalist
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