It has been a project nearly 20 years in the making and many were there to celebrate as the ribbon was cut on the new water treatment plant in Nipawin.
Mayor Rennie Harper spoke to the project at the Evergreen Centre before the party was moved to the new building on Maple Street, even toasting the new community addition with water from her own tap to celebrate the excellent quality water that they have in Nipawin, she said.
The $21.9 million project has been years of planning with work spanning two Nipawin mayors, Harper and former mayor David Trann, as well as lobbying both the provincial and federal governments for much needed funding. The opening of the plant represents the collaboration of all three, Trann said, as the provincial and federal government’s $6.8 million contributions have gone a long way in the success of the project.
"We knew we were committed to building it whether we had help or not," Trann said
By May 2016, the community was ecstatic to hear that they were receiving the funding for the project. But it did take hard work to get to that point, including trips to Ottawa and continued communication with government officials at all levels, he said.
The realization of the inadequacy of the previous plant was a hard one to learn, Harper said, as the Newfield Seed fire in 2002 threatened the town.
It became a matter of safety, Harper said, as the firefighters almost ran out of water to contain the blaze. Following that was the E. coli disaster in Walkerton, Ont., which brought more stringent health and safety water regulations to communities across Canada.
"It's something we all knew we needed," Harper said.
Carrot River Valley MLA Fred Bradshaw was also happy to see the project come to fruition as he was part of the ribbon cutting ceremony. Investments like those made into the Nipawin water treatment plant help keep Saskatchewan strong, he said.
The project will continue into 2021 as three new wells are developed with the focus being on raw water supply upgrades.
Becky Zimmer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Battlefords Regional News-Optimist