Band Sees Development Potential With Completion of Sewer Line

This article was written by Cam Fortems of the Kamloops Daily News on September 12, 2011.

Sewer expansion on TIB lands funded under a federal government program designed to create jobs after the last recession will provide even more economic opportunity in the future, leaders said Monday.

Tk’emlups Indian Band held a official opening at its arbor Monday morning to celebrate completion of its $9.7-million sewer mainline trunk expansion.

The system feeds into the City of Kamoops sewage treatment plant.

While the Sun Rivers development and Sk’lep school have always been connected to the City plant, most of the band lands remained on septic systems.

TIB councillor Fred Seymour, who headed the project for the band, said that fact limited commercial development potential, as well as housing for band members. The 114 homes at the band’s main George Campbell subdivision are on one-acre lots to allow septic fields. But Seymour said the trunk line extension will allow more dense land use, including multi-family projects for band members.

Seymour said the band had long wanted to expand its sewer system and was ready to approach Ottawa in the wake of the last recession, when government was looking for “shovel-ready” projects to help create jobs and boost the economy.

Chief Shane Gottfriedson said now that the more than seven kilometres of trunk line is in place, the band and individual certificate of possession owners will be looking at development and hooking up in the next phase. That includes Mount Paul Industrial Park, which is currently on septic systems.

“We’d like to get the business case and financial planning together.”

In addition to hooking up existing development, Gottfriedson said the sewer expansion allows servicing of 20 hectares of developable land along the South Thompson River beside the Chief Louis complex.

“We’re looking at a riverfront atmosphere with restaurants and fine dining,” Gottfriedson said. “We want to build upon what we started at the Chief Louis Centre.”

The band originally looked at building its own sewage treatment centre, but has an agreement with the City of Kamloops dating back more than a decade. One of the possible outfalls was on the North Thompson River.

Kamloops Mayor Peter Milobar said the City has always factored in development on band lands into its wastewater treatment planning.

“Anytime you can have one less outfall is a good thing for all the residents of the region.”

Both the engineering and construction were done by Kamloops-based companies. One of the band’s stipulations was 30 per cent of the construction workforce was First Nations.

The band also trained and will employ two workers to maintain the series of lines and lift stations.