Alberni city budget – engineering’s dam request

Several big-ticket items are on the Alberni engineering department's budget wish list.

Alberni city engineer Guy Cicon makes his pitch to city council at their budget meeting on Feb.21.

Less manpower and more work mean the city’s engineering department can’t work fast enough to keep up with repairing the city’s aging infrastructure, city engineer Guy Cicon said.

Cicon presented a budget with more than $12,049,800 worth of work that needs to be done.

There were several big-ticket items on Cicon’s menu. The $14 million Dry Creek flood project is still on the books despite the recent failure of a grant application. The city was going to borrow $3 million for the project.

Cicon outlined several options to city councillors at their Tuesday meeting. The city could commit $30,000 to start project design. They could borrow the balance of the funds. Or they could wait until another grant opportunity comes along.

Improvements to Mclean Mill dam, which the city is responsible for, come with a $285,000 price tag. Pressure from the provincial dam inspector necessitates commencing with the project soon. The city could either modify the dam or divert the creek; Cicon recommended the former choice. The initiative would need to kick off with $12,000 for a specialized engineering study.

Cicon also pencilled in $225,000 for sewer and water pipe replacement along Third Avenue between Bute and Redford Streets.

The pipes have been the subject of several breaks and repairs in the past several months.

The city’s aging water and sewer pipes, which Cicon estimates were installed in the 1940s, will continue to be a problem that the city needs to commit money to replacing, he said. Additional investment is required for road replacement to the tune of $4.1 million, Cicon said.

A series of new initiatives not yet requiring funding is also on tap. One initiative will examine the potential for a waterfront industrial road.

Coun. Jack McLeman questioned the need for the $12,000 study for the McLean Mill dam work. “It bothers me that we get someone to tell us what to do,” he said.

Cicon replied that the work is of a geotechnical and hydrological nature, and specialized expertise is needed.

In planning, the department’s budget for 2012 is $541,688 with revenues of $253,500 showing.

Business licence fees are expected to increase by 10 per cent, going from $132,000 in 2011 to $145,000 this year.

Fines and ticket revenue show the steepest decline at 72 per cent, going from $18,500 in 2011 to $5,000 in 2012.

The operating budget shows modest increases for commissionaires and bylaw enforcement, but a 33 per cent drop in planning administration.

Projects in the chute include GIS implementation for $65,000 and a zoning bylaw re-vamp for $60,000.

reporter@albernivalleynews.com

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