On the sunny afternoon of July 20, around 20 people stood in the shade near the Woodcreek Park Wastewater Treatment Plant and at least one couldn’t resist a potty joke.
Patrick Weiler, Member of Parliament for West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country, spoke on behalf of Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities, about the the federal government’s $461,400 investment (announced in April) to complete upgrades to the facility. The provincial government is pitching in $307,600.
“These are the kinds of investments that will make a real and meaningful difference in the lives of the residents right here,” Weiler said.
“This funding will help create a healthier and more resilient community by supporting upgrades to this plant, increasing the reliability and efficiency of wastewater treatments, and improving collection and distribution to meet modern standards,” he said.
The piping tanks and other equipment of the facility will be repaired, reconfigured and replaced, Weiler said. The construction is expected to be complete by spring 2023, a press release said.
Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD) board chair Darnelda Siegers thanked the senior governments and said, “As we look at the future maintenance needs of the facilities, grants such as this one celebrate and help us lessen the burden on the SCRD taxpayers.”
But it was Elphinstone director Donna McMahon’s pun-filled remarks that inspired the most laughter and applause from the gathered residents.
The SCRD operates 15 wastewater treatment facilities, and the Woodcreek Park plant has a long, beleaguered history.
“Not only has it been the subject of more newspaper headlines than any of the others, I suspect it may have generated more newspaper headlines than all of the others put together,” McMahon said as she (a former newspaper reporter herself) recounted the facility’s history.
Installed in 1980 and serving 73 properties, the plant “failed pungently” and was taken over by the SCRD in 1992. Although major upgrades were done before the turn of the century in 1999, the 40-year-old facility “needs significant upgrades to improve performance and reduce the level of maintenance that is currently required,” McMahon said. “On the bright side, it seems that organizing a class action lawsuit is a great way to meet your neighbours.”
To finish her highlight reel of the infrastructure, McMahon noted the previous speakers had resisted the temptation of wordplay, but she could not.
“So, I'm going to give you a short speech from the throne. You may boo or poopoo,” she said. “There is no ‘i’ in ‘team’ but there is wee in this community and a ‘p’ in Woodcreek Park. Thanks to senior government, we are happy to be flush with cash to pursue this infrastructure project which will move forward in excremental steps to meet the community’s number one and number two priorities.”