Art Kaehn

Art Kaehn

Upcoming referendum for water treatment plant

Houston got $3 million from the federal government for a water treatment plant and will hold a referendum by the end of June.

Houston got $3 million from the federal government for a water treatment plant, and will hold a referendum by the end of June.

Seventy per cent of the $4.28 million proposed water treatment plant, is covered by the Government of Canada, through the Gas Tax Fund, and now Houston taxpayers will decide if they’re willing to pay the other 30 per cent, said Mayor Bill Holmberg.

“Compared to what they were originally asked to do, it’s pretty minor,” said Mayor Holmberg, referring to the 2011 referendum where taxpayers voted 85 per cent ‘no,’ to borrowing $4.28 million for a water treatment plant.

In the last referendum proposal, voted on April 2, 2011, the water parcel taxes was set to increase 10 per cent for 2011, and 30 per cent per year for 2012 and the next 25 years after that.

Of the 412 voters in 2011, 349 voted ‘no,’ and only 63 voted ‘yes.’

But things have changed this time around.

If it passes the referendum, the government will cover 70 per cent of the treatment plant construction costs, and Houston taxpayers will pay $1.3 million, said Mayor Holmberg.

Details about the exact tax increase are yet to be determined, but Holmberg says it is pretty minor.

“We’re pretty confident the referendum will go through,” he said, adding that only those on the water system will vote.

The proposed treatment plant will be located by Well 1, between the Bulkley River and 6th Street North, and will treat the water through manganese greensand filtration.

“It’s great news for the community,” Holmberg said.

“It’s something we’ve lobbied for now for two terms and we finally got it, so we’re excited,” he said.