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Canadian water treatment co-op shares infrastructure upgrade loan – Co-operative News



A co-op is among the projects to benefit from a green finance package issued by Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB).

The bank is backing the construction of new water and wastewater facilities in five communities in Manitoba, with the goal of offering cleaner and improved services for approximately 78,000 housing units. 

One of the main beneficiaries is the Red-Seine-Rat (RSR) Wastewater Cooperative, which is serves the rural municipalities of Taché, Hanover and Ritchot, the town of Niverville, and the city of Brandon.

Based in southeastern Manitoba, the co-op will receive millions of dollars from a CA$140m shared loan to build a centralised wastewater treatment plant, replacing traditional wastewater lagoons with mechanised treatment. 

It is hoped the project will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 55,300 tonnes over its life, with measures including the installation of a wastewater conveyance system comprising 90km of effluent pipeline, and new lift and pump stations. 

Water and wastewater infrastructure plays a key role in enabling growth, with city councils sometimes forced to deny new building permits due to inadequate water and wastewater facilities.

“Water and wastewater infrastructure plays a critical role in enabling clean waterways, protecting the local environment and safeguarding public health,” said Ehren Cory, CEO of CIB. “Our partnership strengthens water systems and resources in southern Manitoba to meet current and future water needs. By investing in new water and wastewater infrastructure, CIB provides communities with the certainty they need to plan for municipal growth and future housing development opportunities.”

RSR was set up in 2022 provide Niverville, Taché, Hanover and Ritchot with a new regional wastewater treatment facility to serve a growing population.

“RSR is very pleased to be able to partner with CIB,” said co-op chair Jim Funk. “This investment from the CIB will ensure that our region continues to be an attractive place for families to call home. CIB’s involvement and expertise has enabled our four municipalities to sustainably pursue residential and commercial growth over the next 50 years. This is an exciting opportunity, and we are glad to be working alongside the city of Brandon and the province of Manitoba to achieve it.”

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The municipalities are further supported with funding from the province of Manitoba and Infrastructure Canada through the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program, with the province of Manitoba acting as an aggregator, supporting and coordinating with the municipal partners.

“Unlocking more infrastructure is critical to helping communities get more housing built,” said Sean Fraser, minister of housing, infrastructure and communities. “CIB’s investment of $140m toward new water and wastewater infrastructure for southern Manitobans will modernise wastewater infrastructure while creating the conditions needed to enable the growth of the municipality of Brandon and the communities in the RSR. These are the first projects being financed through CIB’s Infrastructure for Housing Initiative, a financing tool that will be available to communities across the country.”

The projects seek to provide the necessary enabling infrastructure capacity for the addition of approximately 2,300 new housing units in Brandon and 12,600 new housing units in RSR.

The municipalities will be responsible for the delivery of these projects while all water and wastewater infrastructure will continue to remain publicly owned and operated by them.

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