Council adopts low-head siphon repair option

Council adopts low-head siphon repair option

The Town of Oliver continues to move ahead with the $11.5 million low-head siphon repair project at Gallagher Lake. Construction is set for November 2020 to April 2022. (File photo)

By Lyonel Doherty

The Town of Oliver is moving ahead with a $11.5 million option for the Gallagher Lake siphon repair project.

This week council adopted a low-head siphon option comprised of a 60-inch diameter pipe.

Essentially, it would take water from the canal and pump it to a certain height through the new pipe.

“This way we can push as much water through a five-inch pipe as compared to a gravity-fed eight-inch pipe,” said

Shawn Goodsell, director of operations.

This low-head option would be constructed similar to the Gallagher Lake siphon reroute project along Highway 97, but would reduce the earthworks and excavation trench size. The construction will take approximately 20 months.

Chief Administrative Officer Cathy Cowan said this option is the most economical for both the Town and rural area.

After utilizing $5 million committed by the provincial government, the Town will have to borrow the rest of the money at approximately three per cent interest over 25 years, said Chief Financial Officer Doug Leahy.

During a discussion on who is going to pay for the project, water councillor Rick Machial reminded council about the “huge transfer of wealth” that the rural area makes to the Town of Oliver every year. He noted this helps pay for staff wages.

Councillor Larry Schwartzenberger said the siphon has always been one water system, which should be paid for equally by everyone.

Mayor Martin Johansen acknowledged the thought that, back in the day, why would the Town pay for infrastructure in the rural area? But he said it’s clear that the rural area provides a lot of economy that benefits the Town.

Therefore, sharing the cost makes sense, he pointed out.