The debate over upgrading the water main goes on. As you have read, council has voted to carry the issue to referendum.
Some residents have said we should wait for a grant. When told a majority of grants only cover 50 per cent of the cost of a project, a number of people said they were not aware of this as they had been told grants cover all of the costs.
Indeed some grants do, but they are rare, and usually these 100 per cent grants are given for new cutting edge “green” projects like the sewer project.
The replacement of old worn out and failing water mains do not fall into the “green” category.
If we wait to do the upgrade the cost will be approximately twice what it would be if done along with the sewer project. The future cost is estimated to be over $2, 000,000.
A grant, which there is no guarantee of, would cover 50 per cent, and we would need to borrow the remainder of the cost which would be more than $1,000,000.
Strange that this is approximately the amount estimated to do the project now, even without a grant.
If we add in the projected costs of repairs to the water main over the time we wait trying to “save money”, the total rises. Then there will be the extra costs of the increased interest rate on the borrowed money. Rates presently are as low as they can go.
There is no doubt that borrowing money is always a contentious issue. There are some residents that are saying this project and the envisioned problems they have created in their minds are all the fault of the mayor.
Picture that the only person on council that believes in the importance of public health and safety is the mayor. Then figure out how with only one vote, the mayor has managed to bring about a referendum to finance a project aimed at improving an essential service in our town. What an incredible and ridiculous fantasy.
As mayor, I expect to take a goodly amount of criticism. It seems to be the nature of the position, and I accept that.
I want to point out though that without consent of council nothing happens. As with other hotly contested issues of late, council has voted yes to doing the water main upgrade.
I hope that on May 15, and May 25, the residents of Barriere take the time to go out and vote on the issue as well.
Any information you need to make your decision is available at the District office. Those of you worried about the cost of the borrowing should definitely make the effort to get the correct facts from the District staff.
Spring has arrived and the various long running events held here in our community have started once again. One of these is the North Thompson Fall Fair and Rodeo Ambassador program. I attended the Banner Night Ceremony and apron auction last week. There are five eager young ladies that have come forward as contestants.
One of the contestants was in the program last year, and thought so much of it she has returned again this year.
The sponsors, and other members of the audience were generous as usual during the apron auction and the resultant funds that will help support the program got off to a good start.
Please try and come out to watch the efforts of these future community leaders.
I also went to the Walk on the Rural Side Expo and Trade Show on the weekend. I have been to a number of trade shows over the years and I have to say this was one of the best.
The show goers were treated to an engaging and humorous lecture by Dr. Art Hister, and it did not stop there. Friendly vendors, entertaining displays and the opportunity to purchase some unique art were all part of the package.
Jill Hayward and her team put a great deal of effort into this project. The end result displays the many skills honed by years of learning the best possible way to put such an event together. Kudos to all those that made it possible. I look forward to the next event.