Council considers new siphon repair options

Council considers new siphon repair options

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A damaged siphon in 2016 continues to be a dilemma for the Town of Oliver as it looks at cheaper options to re-route it around Gallagher Lake. (File photo)

On Monday Town council will discuss updated options in the ongoing saga of the Gallagher Lake siphon repair project.

Based on an engineering report, Town staff is recommending a new pressured “low head” option with 60-inch pipe (for re-routing around the rockfall area). This would cost $7.9 million and increase maintenance time because of the addition of a proposed pumphouse.

Another option is an alternate intake at Buchanan Drive for $7.2 million. This intake on the Okanagan River (downstream of Gallagher Lake) would tie in to the existing canal and continue to supply irrigation water to downstream users. It was noted the lifecycle costs of this option far exceeds that of the other two options.

The existing gravity siphon option is re-routing part of the canal around Gallagher Lake south on Highway 97. This was previously estimated to cost $10.4 million, but is now $13.2 million, meaning the Town will be short on funding and will have to borrow more money than anticipated, especially with no federal grant available.

The low-head siphon option is recommended to save on construction costs, reducing the pipe size to 60 inches from 96.

Meanwhile, the Town is still trying to secure federal funding. The provincial government has committed $5 million to the project.

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