The design of the new Lions Gate sewage treatment plant came into focus but the payment plan remained blurry at a West Vancouver council meeting Monday.
The facility - estimated to cost about $700 million - would be sandwiched between McKeen Avenue and West First Street, approximately two kilometres east of the existing plant.
The plant, scheduled for completion by the end of the decade, would use a biological process to remove about 90 per cent of dissolved material from liquid waste.
North Shore councils have appealed to the federal government to share the cost of building the plant, but a deal has yet to be struck.
The plant's projected price was 40 per cent lower in 2007. Coun. Craig Cameron questioned Fred Nenninger, Metro Vancouver's point man on the project, about ballooning costs.
"The question that troubles me and keeps me up at night is the financial aspect. It doesn't help when the budget goes from an estimated $400 or $500 million to $700 million to more," Cameron said.
"At what point can we have confidence that the budget target will stop moving?" The plant's hard costs for design and construction total $450 million, said Nenninger. The $700 million figure includes a contingency allowance and accounts for the escalation of construction costs.
Metro Vancouver will settle on a budget number by the end of the year, said Nenninger.
Coun. Michael Lewis called on West Vancouverites to be cognizant of the magnitude of the project, given the hefty costs that may land on North Shore doorsteps.
"The real issue is that there is not an agreed to funding model yet between the three levels of government," Lewis said.
"What's the timing of when there's going to be a decision by the federal government. .. whether to fund and to what extent?" Cameron asked. "The cart is getting ahead of the horse."
Nenninger said no contracts will be signed for design or construction until the funding is in place.
The plant's design calls for zero odour.
However, as waste is broken down, the plant may emit biogas exhaust which can affect air quality.
Metro Vancouver plans to monitor air quality surrounding the plant.
The current wastewater treatment plant, located just west of the Lions Gate Bridge, is on leased land that is scheduled to revert back to the Squamish Nation.
That plant is scheduled to be decommissioned by 2021.
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