Major infrastructure project slated for a 2024 start-time

June 12, 2023

The municipality will embark on a historic project this year to upgrade water and wastewater infrastructure in the village of Inverness, but don’t expect to see shovels in the ground until 2024.

“I would classify this year as a planning and pre- mobilization year,” says Melanie Beaton, special projects facilitator with the Municipality of Inverness County, referring to the March announcement in which all three levels of government unveiled funding for the largest infrastructure project ever undertaken in the county.

Local residents gathered at the fire hall in Inverness to hear the announcement. Photos: Steve Rankin Photography

Council leader Warden Bonny MacIsaac was joined in making the announcement by Mike Kelloway, MP for Cape Breton-Canso, and Allan MacMaster, Inverness MLA and Deputy Premier of Nova Scotia. The $24 million in funding is split three ways, with $9,764,400 from the federal government, $8,137,000 from the province and a $6,509,600 contribution from the municipality.

Beaton says if there’s any digging done in 2023, it will be by the power and telephone utilities to ensure that none of their infrastructure will obstruct the overall project, noting that the municipality is currently working on finalizing the detailed design of the wastewater treatment plant with its consultant, CBCL Limited.

“The hope is that we will complete the design this year and tender that work for construction to start sometime next year,” she explains, adding that design will be the focus of public engagement “more likely during the fall” of 2023.

“When we’re talking about a project of this scale, technically what we did was group a lot of projects into one,” Beaton says. “There’s a lot of moving components, various consultants, regulatory partners. So, in 2023 we’re working on permitting, detailed design and easement negotiation and tender preparation.”

This investment will go towards the replacement of the aging wastewater treatment facility in Inverness with a new, more efficient facility which will protect the health of surrounding waters. It will also enable the municipality to upgrade the sanitary collection of wastewater and water distribution systems on Central Avenue and on Veteran’s Memorial Court.

Representatives of all three levels of government were on hand to make a historic announcement for Inverness County. From left: Cllr Blair Phillips (District 2), Inverness MLA and Deputy Premier of Nova Scotia Allan MacMaster, Warden Bonny MacIsaac (District 3), Cllr Lynn Chisholm (District 5), Mike Kelloway MP, Deputy Warden Catherine Gillis (District 6) and Cllr Claude Poirier (District 1).

Beaton says the municipality is still waiting on a second funding application made through the federal government’s Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP), which is “the last piece of the puzzle” in terms of the overall project.

“We’ve been working on an active transportation implementation plan that will re-do the sidewalks which we would have to reinstate anyway,” she explains. “It would re-do the sidewalks, crosswalks and pedestrian lighting.”

“We’re looking at breaking up the work in biteable chunks,” Beaton says, noting that each section will be completed in its entirety before moving on to the next section.

She says every effort will be made to do “as much as we can in the shoulder season.”

Warden MacIsaac sounded an optimistic tone as she participated in the March 17 announcement.

“The Municipality of Inverness County thanks the provincial and federal governments for this funding announcement,” she said at the time.

“We are making history today as this is the largest infrastructure upgrade initiative the municipality has ever taken on.”

“It will have a positive impact on quality of life in this community and is a building block for the future growth of the county,” she added. “It’s a day of celebration for the community of Inverness and for the county as a whole. With today’s announcement and several other major projects underway, this is an exciting time to be in Inverness County.”