Questioning the clarity of borrowing for water main

letter to the editor from Mike Fennell, Barriere - re borrowing for water main

To the editor;

After reading the District of Barriere Borrowing Bylaw Notice, I have a number of questions.

What is the interest rate and how much will it cost us in total over the 15 years if we can’t pay the $1,300 up front?

Why replace this water main at the same time as the sewer is installed?  The water main is on the opposite side of Barriere Town Road to where the sewer line will go.

Upon questioning District staff, I was told that because of the depth of the sewer line, parts of Barriere Town Road would be dug up and need repaving.  In other towns, they excavate straight down and insert a 40 foot long steel box which is pulled along as the pipes are laid and then backfilled and compacted.  With this method, there should be no need to touch Barriere Town Road.  Don’t forget this road was repaved just before incorporation, and will last another 45 to 50 years.  There are many other roads in Barriere that need repaving before Barriere Town Road.

District staff also said this water main is nearing the end of its expected life.  If this is true, when will the rest of this main be replaced?  Will they be asking to borrow more money next year?

The Federal government has just recently announced that they are working on infrastructure programs.  Why not wait a year or two and apply for a grant to do this project?

I also noticed that the repair budget for the water system had a large surplus in the last year.  This was in part due to the elimination of the bottleneck on Lodgepole Road, and that project was accomplished with an infrastructure grant that paid for 80 percent of the cost.  The water main on Barriere Town Road could last another 10 to 15 years.  Why not cut the Mayor’s unaccountable travel budget and save up and apply for grants for this project?

I recently participated in a Barriere Town Road forum, where the District unveiled plans for a separated walkway for pedestrians and scooters on Barriere Town Road.  It just happens to coincide exactly the same area where the proposed replacement of the water main will take place.  In my opinion, this is the real reason behind the water main replacement.  Remember, the Mayor likes sidewalks.

In the next year or so, those living in the oldest part of town will face a big bill when it comes to sewer.  It will probably cost $1,000, to $2,000 to hook up from your property line to your waste water outlet.  Then, of course, there will be a quarterly charge of $50 to $100 to run and maintain the system.  Oh yes, there will be a 1.6 percent tax increase as well as the $1,300 for the unnecessary replacement of the water main.

In my opinion, council is being irresponsible and most should not be re-elected for another term.  I urge everyone to take the time to register their opposition to borrowing this money, by going to the District office and filling out the appropriate form.

Go to a council or committee meeting.  See how council votes to spend your money.  Write a letter to the editor.  Do something to b informed.

Mike Fennell