Victoria focuses on underground system upgrades

B.C.’s capital is working to repair and replace sewer and water systems.

Dragon boat crews paddle in the waters around Victoria, B.C. – Province of B.C.

Victoria, B.C. is stepping up its underground infrastructure.

Crews have started work on water main upgrades on Blanshard Street in what is the second year of a decade-long $53.8 million renewal of critical underground infrastructure. The project, which is receiving support from the Government of Canada’s Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund (DMAF), stretches between Caledonia Avenue through to Fort Street and will continue through summer 2023. 

“Reliable water and wastewater treatment systems protect communities and the environment,” said Dominic LeBlanc, minister of intergovernmental affairs, infrastructure and communities. “We will continue to work collaboratively with local governments to build resilient communities, in British Columbia and across Canada.” 

Victoria Mayor Marianne Alto noted that resilient cities have resilient underground systems. “Renewing and upgrading our underground infrastructure is critical to protect our communities and ensure our core water, sewer and stormwater services can be maintained in the event of an earthquake or a climate change event,” said Alto.

In addition to the water main work on Blanshard Street, other large city projects this year include upgrading the Chatham Street Sewer Pump Station, replacing sanitary sewers on a portion of Cook Street and the rehabilitation of a sanitary sewer on Store Street. 

“Strengthening and renewing our underground infrastructure is not only key to protecting the high quality water, sewer and stormwater services everyone relies on every day, it is vital to ensuring the health and resiliency of Victoria for years to come,” said Philip Bellefontaine, director of engineering and public works. “Major projects such as these will minimize future infrastructure costs, serve our growing community and help keep us safe during climate and seismic events.” 

Officials noted that these projects are in addition to the four already completed in 2021 and 2022 to replace or upgrade aging infrastructure, some more than 100 years old, to support growing neighbourhoods. Over the next decade, the city plans to invest nearly $54 million in 78 capital infrastructure projects, a 40 per cent increase in capital infrastructure investments compared to the past 10 years. 

To minimize disruption and maximize public benefit, the City is coordinating the Blanshard Street water main works with other improvements which will include new road paving, replacement of old traffic signal equipment and new road markings to make it safer for pedestrians and cyclists and easier for traffic to circulate in the downtown. Staff are working with the contractor to minimize traffic impacts where possible, however the public should plan for travel delays resulting from this construction. 


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