Wastewater plant upgrade costs balloon
By Nowell Berg
On January 24, City of Kimberley council held its regular bi-monthly meeting.
Councillors Kyle Dalum, Kent Goodwin, Nigel Kitto, Jason McBain, Darryl Oakley and Sandra Roberts were present along with Mayor Don McCormick.
Due to pandemic restrictions, the public and media are not allowed to attend council chambers. Meetings live stream on the City of Kimberley YouTube channel. Watch the archive here.
Wastewater Treatment Plant Cost Balloons to $95 million
Chief financial officer Jim Hendricks provided council with an update on the financial impact of the construction of the Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP).
Hendricks said, “The original estimate we were dealing with was $62.57 million.” He indicated that an updated report to council now pegs the construction cost of the WWTP at $79.5 million, an increase of 27% which includes five per cent contingency.
In consultations with the provincial government, it requested the city budget for a 20% contingency. With that increase, Hendricks estimates the cost of the WWTP at just over $87 million. Adding in other offsite works like sewer mains and outfall to the river, and the decommission and demolition of the old plant, the total cost is now pegged at $95.2 million.
Mayor McCormick said, “The cost is the cost, but the number we are focusing on is $25 million,” which would be the city’s share of the total cost.
Hendricks noted that the proposed provincial grant, if received, would account for $69.825 million (73.33%). The city would be required to borrow approximately $23.225 million (26.7% of total budget) with the balance of $2.17 million coming from the Kimberley Land Development Reserve.
Council unanimously supported moving forward with the provincial government grant application and the WWTP project.
Councillors Goodwin, Oakley and Kitto voted against using a parcel tax instead of property assessment value tax to cover the debt servicing costs.
Coun. Goodwin summed up the dissenters’ opinion: “I don’t think it’s fair to charge everyone no matter how cheap or expensive there house is the same amount. I would rather see it distributed by the value of the property.”
A long-term borrowing bylaw referendum will go before electors in the October 2022 general local elections.
Council adopts water Conservation Plan
Ehren Lee, Urban Systems, presented council with a summary of a report on the proposed Water Conservation Plan.
Lee noted that the average water consumption in B.C. is 500 Lpcpd (liters per-capita per-day). The Kimberley average is 1,150 Lpcpd.
Why such a large difference?
Lee said, “The customer mix is key. We have golf course(s), ski hill and other industrial properties, which alone account for an equivalent population of about 750 additional people.” He added, “Over-all consumption is down 15% from 2018 to 2020.”
Conservation success is driven by “people talking to people and it has an impact” on changing water use behaviour and learning about how to conserve water in their home.
When it comes to restrictions, Lee said, “Communal water restrictions are a fairly equitable way for everyone to contribute to reduced use.”
Council unanimously adopted the water conservation plan which calls for a 20% reduction in water use by 2026.
Sign Variance Deferred
David Atkinson, the new owner of the Marysville mini-storage, now called Blue Collar Mini Storage, requested council approve variance changes to the businesses sign.
According to Troy Pollock, Senior Planner, the city has “no record of authorization for the sign. We consider it existing unauthorized signage. Any new or replacement signage is expected to comply with current Bylaw requirements. The existing sign is non-compliant on a number of fronts. It is over-height, back lit and lacks a landscaped area at the base.”
Pollock told council that Atkinson “insists on council support their plan to replace the non-compliance sign and move ahead as requested.”
Staff asked council to defer a decision in order for them to work with Atkinson on a sign update and make it “comply” more closely with the Sign Bylaw.
Council voted unanimously to support the staff request for a deferral.
Kimberley city council meets twice monthly starting at 7 p.m. The next scheduled council meeting is February 14.
e-KNOW file photo