City council has approved a $40,000 engineering contract for the design and cost of a Ross Street underpass.
RF Binnie & Associates Ltd. was awarded the contract for a civil engineering review of a preliminary design by CWMM Consulting Engineering that was completed in 1999 but never finalized. Binnie will be working with CWMM and other contractors to provide an updated underpass design and costs estimates.
The city budgeted the $40,000 in 2012 for the design and cost review.
Coun. Ken Jamieson said as long as he’s on council, any movement towards an underpass would require a referendum. However, people need to know exactly what is being proposed, so he supported awarding the contract.
“That doesn’t mean that me personally or us as a group is saying this is the route we are going to take and it’s going to be constructed,” said Jamieson. “But certainly, the next step after this is a referendum, and that could be in the short term or the very long term.”
Acting as deputy mayor, Coun. Denise Reimer said while she would support a referendum, it wouldn’t be the only option open to council.
Coun. Chad Eliason chided council for its use of the “r” word, emphasizing the discussion was about design and costs.
“I am upset so many of us have used the term ‘referendum’ already… I think far too many people have gone three steps too far already here in this discussion,” said Eliason. “And we’re discussing spending money so the citizens of Salmon Arm know what they’ll be voting on when it does go to a referendum.”
Eliason explained the updated cost and design information will give council what it needs to take the project to higher levels of government and CP Rail to seek monetary support for construction of an underpass, estimated to be $9 million.
According to city staff, there will likely be further work required to finalize a detailed design, estimated to cost between $100,000 and $300,000. RF Binnie has already indicated a completed design concept and cost estimate will be ready by September.