Canal funding application on hold

Canal funding application on hold

(File photo)

Lyonel Doherty
Oliver Chronicle

At least one councillor in the Town of Oliver believes it’s time to get political over the canal funding issue.

On Monday, water councillor Rick Machial said government inaction on the Town’s application for disaster relief funding means it’s time to put pressure on the powers that be.

The Town has applied for $19.4 million to fix the Gallagher Lake siphon and upgrade the remainder of the canal. The Town’s contribution is estimated at $6.6 million.

But Chief Administrative Officer Cathy Cowan said they haven’t heard anything back from the Ministry of Infrastructure. As a result, they are requesting a meeting with the minister in Ottawa.

“We’re in a holding pattern right now,” she said.

Mayor Martin Johansen said he has spoken to MP Richard Cannings who understand this is a “shovel ready project.” He noted the design is close to being done.

“I’m not waiting for Richard Cannings to get back to me . . . I’m pushing all buttons,” the mayor said.

But Machial reiterated they should be pressing the government and using the upcoming election as a venue to do that.

“This (canal funding) is taking too long,” he said.

Councillor Dave Mattes said the matter is imperative since he visited the Gallagher Lake site recently and could hear rocks falling off the cliff.

A rockslide in 2016 damaged a section of the siphon, which underwent a temporary fix and is now awaiting permanent repair. This involves rerouting that section along Highway 97.