I read the Star/Journal editorial in the March 28 edition titled, ‘To borrow or not: that is the question’. I appreciate the timeliness and accuracy of the article. I would like to add a few points around the issue of replacing the waterline at this time.
The current waterline would be crossed approximately 28 times during the construction of the sewer lines. The current line is cement asbestos and apparently such pipe becomes brittle as it ages. It is an almost certainty that the current water pipe will either break, or at least leak at one or more of those crossings.
The current pipe is undersized, which hinders upgrades of the available water pressure to better serve customers further along the line. The current small size also needs to be increased to allow for better fire protection going forward. I believe we all know how important proper fire protection is.
By doing the water line in concert with the sewer line we will also rebuild Barriere Town Road to a standard that will give many years of service.
This will include proper drainage along the road to eliminate the huge puddles currently found at intersections like Dixon Road. The system that is supposed to handle the run off at this intersection is plugged and the cost to repair it is prohibitive if done as a single project.
The water and sewer line project will have proper planning for snow removal and drainage. Any long time problems such as this ongoing middle of the road swimming hole can be dealt with properly as the sewer and water line project is being done.
The rebuild of Barriere Town Road will also provide for crosswalks, extra signage and caution lights where needed to improve safety for both pedestrians and drivers.
The crosswalks and intersections were painted last year with an inexpensive paint that is now mostly worn off. This was done because the plan is to properly design and revamp the traffic plan along the road. Why pay for very expensive paint when it will be dug up and gone in a short space of time?
The road markings and other safety features will be upgraded and done in a permanent fashion during the water and sewer line project.
The possibility of waiting and trying to get a grant to pay for the water line improvement was brought up. Barriere was given a 100 per cent grant to do the sewer project. This is very rare.
Barriere also partnered recently with Clearwater and the Thompson Nicola Regional District and got a grant to enlarge the proposed septage receiving plant.
I cannot say for sure, nobody can, but it strikes me that we may have to wait awhile for our turn to come up for another large grant.
Last but not least, this current proposal to borrow will not be an increase to what users currently pay. Some people have been told that this proposed borrowing will double the cost to users. That is not true.
A loan that was taken out many years ago for water line improvements will soon be finished. The cost of the new loan will then replace that payment.
The current borrowing rates are as low as they ever have been, or will be. If we wait a few years and see if we can get a bit more use out of the water line we will face a project cost that is most likely double the current price tag for construction, and the cost of borrowing when we are forced into it will most certainly be higher than now.
A good many businesses relocate to the Kamloops area for the lifestyle, as well as the economic benefits that a progressive and business friendly city like Kamloops can provide.
Proper planning and an aggressive approach to encouraging new business start ups, business relocations, and retention of existing enterprises have made the Kamloops area a very desirable place to locate.
Some people will come to the area, but want to live in a smaller town. Barriere is well placed to fill that role.
We need to go forward with repairing and expanding our water lines and roads to attract new residents.