An Oak Bay municipal crew finishes off a job by laying hot asphalt in place on Dalhousie Street. The District of Oak Bay is in the process of completing a number of underground infrastructure projects, part of its long term asset renewal plan for the municipality. (Don Descoteau/News Staff)

Oak Bay’s Uplands sewer, storm line separation project awaits funding

Federal/provincial infrastructure grant announcement expected next spring

Work on Oak Bay’s underground infrastructure renewal has begun in earnest, but one longer-term project is awaiting some good news.

The Uplands sewer line separation project, tentatively scheduled to get underway in summer 2022, comes to mind each time the neighbourhood’s combined sewer and stormwater lines overflow in heavy rains, as happened Nov. 17.

Significant design work has been completed for Phase 1 of the estimated $23-million project, making it “shelf ready,” according to a February 2020 report from Oak Bay director of engineering, Dan Horan.

RELATED STORY: Work to replace Oak Bay sewer, storm pipes underway

But locking in this major piece in the district’s long-term asset renewal program must wait for an answer on Oak Bay’s application for funding through the federal Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program, under its green infrastructure, environmental quality program sub-stream.

The province’s website states that applications are under review, with final decisions anticipated in spring 2021.

For approved projects, the federal government covers up to 40 per cent of the cost, with the province chipping in up to 33 per cent.

That leaves Oak Bay on the hook for the remaining 27 per cent, or $6.127 million. Council has already targeted money from the district’s public works reserve and placed it in the 2020-24 financial plan.

“We’re hoping to get the whole amount and do the whole project as one major [undertaking],” said Mayor Kevin Murdoch. “All the engineering work is done and it’s totally ready to go.”

The project is broken down into three phases, the first of which includes the Humber Road catchment construction. That aspect, plus the detailed design for the Rutland Road catchment construction, are slated to begin in 2022. The phase 3 Rutland work is tentatively scheduled for the summer of 2023 and 2024.

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