SHEDIAC, N.B. -- More than $32 million in upgrades will be coming to the sewerage facility in Shediac, N.B.

The system will be state of the art, but it may not be the solution to ongoing water quality issues at Parlee Beach.

With a sewage lagoon in the background, Beausejour, N.B. Member of Parliament Dominic LeBlanc announced the federal government’s commitment to the wastewater prorject.

“A federal contribution of over $16.1 million, 50% of the total province cost,” said LeBlanc.

New Brunswick’s provincial government is kicking in $10.7 million, while the Greater Shediac Sewerage Commission will kick in the remaining $5.3 million.

However, there are still questions as to whether the upgrades will address the water quality issues that have been plaguing nearby Parlee Beach.

“It’s no secret that in recent years, water quality in Shediac Bay and the area is extremely important,” said LeBlanc during the funding announcement. “It is extremely important for the public health of our citizens, but also for the tourist economy that benefits so many of our citizens.”

The general manger of the Greater Shediac Sewerage Commission says a number of studies have been done, but there’s never been a direct link between the water quality issues at Parlee Beach and the sewerage system.

“I can’t guarantee that it’s going to improve, but it’s not going to make it worse, that’s for sure,” says Joey Frenette. “It will guarantee that we will have much, much improved wastewater treatment once released from the facility going into the Bay of Shediac.”

Improvements coming to the facility include grit removal, UV disinfection, and pumping stations.

The current facility was refurbished in 1996 and was given a 20 year lifespan, meaning upgrades to the wastewater management system in Shediac are long overdue.

“We are not only going to meet the new stringent standards of the provincial and federal government, but we are going to exceed them with a new, state of the art treatment facility,” says Frenette.

The upgrades are expected to begin in early 2021, and aim to be complete in two to three years.