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Britannia Beach clean up begins

Ministers pitch project as an example of public-private partnership

Work on one of the provincial government’s favourite projects officially started Thursday, March 3 at the 4100 Level of Britannia Beach’s famous copper mine.

The Minister of Sustainable Resource Management, George Abbott, and Small Business and Economic Development Minster John Les as well as SLRD Chairman John Turner and the President of Epcor Water Services, Dr. Steve Stanley, returned to Britannia Beach last week to mark the beginning of the water treatment plant project.

Representatives from Partnerships B.C., the Fraser Basin Council and the Britannia Beach community were also present for the ceremony that marked the culmination of years of lobbying by a variety of groups.

Once the water treatment plant is finished in 2006 it will divert the acid rock drainage from the Britannia Beach mine, which has been polluting Howe Sound for decades, into a facility where the heavy metals will be removed from the water.

Epcor and the province are both funding the project, which is why the provincial government is using it as an example of what can happen when public-private partnerships are formed.

Epcor will be financing the design, construction and operation of the water treatment plant for 20 years, while the province will contribute an annual operating fee.