Council to consider public input at a special meeting

Rossland, Warfield and Trail are partners in the regional sewer service.

  • Sep. 17, 2015 6:00 p.m.

Rossland, Warfield and Trail are partners in the regional sewer service. The old bridge is in poor condition and the sewer pipe needs to be moved. Trail’s new pedestrian bridge will be suitable to carry the pipe.

We need to increase our borrowing to pay for Rossland’s share of the project from an estimated $1m to an estimated $1.8m (actual costs may be lower, but will not be higher).

Your current parcel tax is $60 per year. Under the recently terminated agreement your parcel tax would have been $97. By borrowing $1.8m over 25 years, your tax will be $117 per year.

In 2014 the three municipalities made a deal: The bridge was estimated to cost $9.8m. The regional partners would contribute $4.2m and Trail would pay the difference to build the pedestrian bridge. Unfortunately all bids came in much higher; ranging from $12m to over $24m for just the construction portion. The lowest bid cost, with everything included was over $15m. When Trail rejected the tenders, the original contract with the three partners Trail, Rossland and Warfield terminated.

Trail has negotiated with the lowest bidder to reduce the total to $14.5m. The three partners, recognizing the importance of the project, are working together to reach an agreement: The partners will pay $7.2m (63 per cent from Trail, 25 per cent from Rossland and 12 per cent from Warfield) Trail will take all the risk and pay the $7.3m balance. Thus Trail will pay $12m, Rossland $1.8m and Warfield $800k.

Other options considered: a stand-alone pipe-bridge; total costs could be  in excess of $10m. Drilling under the Columbia River was not seriously considered; possibly less expensive if successful but risky with our rocky terrain. Hanging a pipe on the Victoria St bridge; likely least expensive. A conceptual Class D and a Class C estimate were $3.5m and $6.5m. (Class D =+/- 50 per cent).

We could consider building our own sewage treatment plant. This option has been examined and rejected several times: We don’t own suitable land; operations and maintenance costs; endangered species in the proposed area; Ministry of Environment is unlikely to issue a second outlet for releasing sewage into the Columbia (even green technology requires a backup effluent system). This option is not at the feasibility stage. Much time and money would be required and we’d be without partners to defray costs.

All of these options would require significantly more engineering and permitting to determine true costs. None of these options are tender ready. Until bids are received the true costs are only speculative.

The current pricing for the new bridge project is very good. It started out $2m less than the next bid and then reduced significantly. The contractor was unwilling to hold this price any longer. Trail awarded the contract on Sept 11.

If we retender or redesign to build any of the other options, costs would rise; even just to do the same design, next year. Contractors have all seen the bids and construction costs are likely to increase.  Currency exchange is an issue because many of the bridge components are only available in the US. What about grants? Many grants were offered in 2015 because it was an election year. More are likely next year but there is certainly no guarantee we would get one. However, this project would be a good candidate!

Under the circumstances, this appears to be the best deal for Rossland. We are unlikely to get our pipe across the river for less money. The original deal, formulated on estimates that were incomplete and several years old, did not reflect the realistic costs of getting our sewer line across the river. Once the actual bids were received, the true cost of building the bridge was known and all partners must pay their fair share.

 

 

 

Come to a special meeting Sept. 18, 4-7 p.m. at City Hall to learn more and tell council what you think. Or email to mayor@rossland.ca with your input.

Mayor Kathy Moore

 

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