Why is this project happening?

    The sewer pipe that runs along the Willemar Bluffs was built in 1982. Each day more than 14,000 cubic metres of untreated sewage (almost 6 Olympic-sized pools) moves through this pipe to the sewage treatment plant on Brent Road. It is located along an exposed section of beach, and is vulnerable to damage from waves, rocks and logs – a break in the pipe would release raw sewage into Comox Bay and Baynes Sound. 

    The new system will route sewer pipes further inland where they will no longer be vulnerable to storm damage. It will also upgrade the pump stations to withstand climate change impacts and meet seismic standards. This project is urgently needed to protect the beaches and waters throughout the Comox Estuary, Point Holmes, Goose Spit coastline, as well as Baynes Sound.

    What does this project involve?

    This project involves: 

    • Installing a new sewer pipe from the Courtenay Pump Station all the way to the sewage treatment plant.
    • Building a new Courtenay Pump Station for climate resiliency and to meet current earthquake standards.
    • Upgrading two other pump stations: K’ómoks Pump Station (in IR1) and Comox Pump Station (at Jane Place).

    How was the public consulted on the plans for this project?

    This conveyance project is the result of the extensive Comox Valley Sewer System Liquid Waste Management Planning process (LWMP) which started in 2018, and was developed over three years with the input of a public and technical advisory committee.

    The LWMP identified solutions for conveyance, treatment and resource recovery and included extensive public engagement throughout the process. Input was collected from the community and technical experts and was reported on throughout each stage of the process. Learn more about this plan.

    What is the route for the new pipe?

    The pipe route starts at the Courtenay Pump Station and will be trenched alongside Comox Road to Farmview Road. The pipe route will follow Farmview Road and utilize agricultural lands to avoid construction in archaeologically sensitive zones. Just to the west of Komoks reserve the pipe will route back to Comox Road and run through K’ómoks land past the IHOS Gallery and Band Administration office. 

    It will then move up Comox Hill, along Comox Ave, down Rodello Street and onto Beaufort Avenue, past the marina. From there it will route up Stewart Street in order to avoid the busy downtown core. The pipe will continue down Balmoral Avenue from Stewart Street to Torrence and Lazo Roads. 

    Finally, the pipe will be tunelled through Lazo Hill – the entry/exit pit will be located at the intersection of Torrence Road and Lazo Road. The pipe will come back above ground at the top of Morland Road where it will be routed overland through Lazo Marsh to the treatment plant.

    How much will this project cost?

    The project is anticipated to cost $101 million with an estimated 80-year service life for the new sewer pipe.

    How will this project be funded?

    The project will be funded using $32.3 million in reserves and $68.7 million in debt. An Alternate Approval Process (AAP) will be held in spring 2023 to seek consent from electors to utilize long-term borrowing in order to extend the length of debt and reduce annual payment amounts, improving the affordability of this project. 

    The AAP will be promoted throughout the community, with additional information about the costs for residents made available in the spring.

    When will construction begin, and how long will it last?

    Construction on this project is expected to start in summer 2023 and last 18-24 months. More information will be available once contracts are awarded and details of the scope and design are confirmed.

    How will archeologically sensitive areas be protected?

    A Cultural Heritage Impacts Mitigation report was developed to ensure that all areas along the project alignment, within 200m from the shoreline or major waterbodies, are handled appropriately. Further, an archaeological investigation will occur ahead of construction to better understand the extent of archaeological material along the route. Once the initial investigation work is complete, there will be mitigation measures for identified and encountered archaeological sites, including construction monitoring and implementation of data recovery techniques as required.

    During construction, the new pipe will be re-routed off Comox Road to avoid archaeologically sensitive zones. The new pipe will also be installed in the existing trench through most of K'ómoks IR1 to avoid undisturbed midden material.

    What traffic impacts are expected along the route?

    Due to the extent and anticipated duration of the project, there will be significant impacts to traffic throughout the course of construction. See the map below to understand the plans for traffic management or visit our interactive map.

    How was the public consulted about traffic and construction impacts?

    A comprehensive stakeholder engagement process was completed  in summer 2022 and included meetings with key stakeholder groups such as emergency services, BC Transit and the School District, presentations to Comox and City of Courtenay Councils and downtown business associations, and engagement through a survey for other private utilities, businesses and stakeholders. A "What We Heard" report was presented to the Sewage Commission in September and will inform the traffic management strategy that will be shared with the community in early 2023.

    What other Town of Comox infrastructure improvements will be completed as part of this project?

    The CVRD and Town of Comox have come to an agreement to include some key infrastructure projects for the Town of Comox as part of the project. This will minimize construction and traffic disruptions for all impacted residents. Upgrades identified by the Town include: 

    • New roundabout at Glacier View Drive and Comox Avenue;
    • New roundabout at Rodello Street and Comox Avenue;
    • Beaufort Avenue improvements including upgrading the roadway cross section on Beaufort Avenue between Church Street and Nordin Street.
    • A sidewalk on both sides of Beaufort Avenue, formalized parking areas and a shared bike/vehicle lane.
    • A new sidewalk on the south side of Balmoral Avenue from Stewart Street to Pritchard Street. 
    • Repaving of Balmoral Avenue and Torrence Road, as well as the south bound lane of Torrence Road between Lazo Road and Albatross Avenue.

    Will the older trees along Balmoral Ave be impacted by construction?

    We heard very clearly from the community that preserving the trees along Balmoral Ave was an important priority. Steps will be taken to ensure these trees are protected during construction.

    How would a leak be detected in the pipe tunnelled through Lazo Hill?

    A monitoring program has been developed for the project and is included in the Groundwater Protection Policy. This will include regular, annual testing for leaks using acoustic detection equipment, which goes through the pipes to listen for signs of leakage. Including this plan in the policy ensures that leak detection will continue regardless of changes to CVRD staff or elected officials.

    Will the aquifer be harmed in the case of a leak?

    The design of the new system, including using zero pressure gravity flow and high density polyethylene (HDPE) pipe, is key to protecting groundwater. By removing the requirement for a pressurized forcemain and using HDPE pipe, we are able to ensure the pipe will be very strong for the flow required and resistant to breaks or corrosion. The route also allows the pipe to stay well above aquifer and at least 20 metres away from all wells. Our groundwater consultants estimate that any leak would take over several months to reach the aquifer given the compact nature of the ground it’s being installed in – and progress 20 m horizontally. The same ground would serve as a filtering tool, preventing contamination.