The City of Salmon Arm will be looking for voter approval to borrow more than $2 million for one of two water infrastructure projects deemed essential by city council.
At its Monday, Feb. 12 meeting, council voted to support a loan authorization bylaw enabling the city to proceed towards an alternate approval process, through which voter assent will be sought to borrow $2,298,000 for the construction of a replacement to the Zone 5 booster (water pumping) station.
A related city staff report to council notes the existing booster station, located near the 30th Street SE/10th Ave SE intersection, has “exceeded its useful life,” while an asset management risk evaluation process identified the Zone 5 station as being at very high risk due to increased development in the city’s lower southeast quadrant putting further pressure on the system.
Staff have proposed building a replacement Zone 5 booster station closer to Little Mountain. The project is estimated to cost $2,523,000, with $255,000 of that coming from the city’s water development cost charge reserve.
The city is looking to long-term borrowing for the $2.298 million which requires elector assent.
With third reading from council, the bylaw now requires statutory approval from the provincial Inspector of Municipalities. When that occurs, an alternative approval process (AAP) can begin. The city can proceed with borrowing unless, through the course of the AAP, at least 10 per cent of electors (1,503) respond indicating assent through a referendum is first required.
Repayment of the loan is projected at $121,335 annually over 30 years at an estimated interest rate of 2.91 per cent. According to staff, the proposed borrowing will not result in a frontage tax increase and can be funded through existing water utility revenues.
During the same meeting, council supported a staff recommendation to have WSP Canada Inc., for $199,729 plus taxes, undertake the second phase – preliminary and 90 per cent detailed design – of a project focused on replacing the current Zone 2 pump station by the washroom building at Canoe Beach. The end goal is to construct a new Zone 2 station where the nearby water treatment facility is located.
City engineering and public works director Rob Niewenhuizen explained the current Zone 2 station, responsible for moving water to about 75 per cent of the city, was initially put into service in 1970. He explained its electronics and electrical system are outdated and cannot be supported by a portable generator should the power go out. The station’s proximity to the railway tracks and Shuswap Lake is also of concern.
Council voted in support of awarding WSP the work, the results of which will give the city the ability to determine accurate construction estimates and prepare an overall project construction budget.
“We’re being asked at this council meeting for two major water infrastructure upgrades, the design phase for Zone 2 and later, loan authorization for Zone 5: both of those projects are essential,” commented Mayor Alan Harrison. “It’s not like we have a big choice. They’re core services and they’re not optional. I know that council knows that. And this one in particular is 50 years old.”
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