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City facing big expenditures

Salmon Arm council is making public awareness a priority for two projects requiring the city to borrow $2.8 million.

Last week, council gave three readings to bylaws for two projects, allowing the city to proceed with alternate approval processes for borrowing.

The city needs to borrow $1.8 million for phase 1 of the Foreshore Sanitary Sewer Main Rehabilitation Project. Regarded as high priority, this project involves the upgrading of 1.5 kilometres of pipe along the foreshore, between the Raven and Appleyard subdivisions. The project would also relocate 800 metres of sanitary sewer from the foreshore at Canoe Beach to 78th Avenue NE.

For phase 1 of the New Cemetery Development Project, the city would borrow $1,020,000. This project is to expand the city’s interment capacity, as the Mt. Ida Cemetery is nearing capacity.

In the case of both projects, the alternative approval process requires 1,336 electoral responses to legally stop the city from borrowing, unless voter assent is acquired through referendum. The deadline to submit electoral response forms is Monday, Oct. 6 at 4 p.m.

Reflecting on the last time council had an alternative approval process – for the leasing of property relating to the future Ross Street underpass – Coun. Alan Harrison said more work needs to be done this time around to inform the public.

“The last time we went through an alternative approval process was about the lease… I think we did a really poor job of presenting the reasons why we wanted to do that. So I want to make sure we don’t make the same mistake again,” said Harrison, who recommended the city include a one-page information bulletin in one of the Friday newspapers received by all residents. The ad would explain what the projects are, why they are being done and how the city plans to finance them.

Coun. Marg Kentel suggested an open house also be held. Council wound up agreeing to both, though Harrison stressed the importance of getting the message out through the paper.

“I like the information leaflet in the free newspapers because then everybody gets it…,” said Harrison.

The need for the foreshore sewer main replacement came about during the flooding of 2012 when a structural failure occurred along the foreshore sanitary line. In a report to council, city engineering and public works director Rob Niewenhuizen says crews quickly fixed the problem, but it was found that due to the line’s age, the material used and “geotechnical conditions,” further issues are anticipated as the sewer main nears the end of its lifespan.

City administrator Carl Bannister said that if the city proceeds with this project, there will be an increase in sanitary user rates of $22.25. He added the city is applying for a federal grant worth $600,000, which would decrease the rate increase to $15.

 

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