Port Alberni city council is considering a list of potential projects for the 2019 budget, including the rehabilitation of the Gertrude Street Bridge over Roger Creek.
Council has approximately $600,000 available for supplementary projects, which will hold taxation increases to three percent for residential taxpayers.
The most expensive project on this list is a rehabilitation of the Gertrude Street Bridge. This is not the same bridge over Kitsuksis Creek that the city spent almost half a million dollars widening a few years ago—this Gertrude Street bridge is located near the Stamp Avenue and Roger Street intersection.
During a special city council budget meeting on Monday, Jan. 28, manager of engineering Wilf Taekema explained that the bridge is the “largest and most expensive structure” in the city’s inventory.
“We’ve been monitoring some timber supports underneath the bridge, but really the cause for the problems down below is at the north pier,” he explained.
Engineers have put forward an estimate of $200,000, which will replace a joint across the north pier and cover “a few more issues,” such as riprap missing underneath the bridge and some painting. The work will be contracted.
The Gertrude Street bridge at Compton Road (over Kitsuksis Creek) went over its budget back in 2016—a cost which had to be covered by the city. But Taekema said this project is unlikely to have the same problem. The escalating costs in 2016 occured because engineers at the time discovered a few problems that had not been identified when the project was tendered. For the Roger Creek bridge, Taekema said going over budget is not likely to happen.
“The scope of work is way more well-defined for what we’re doing here,” he said. “It’s not a redecking.”
The next budget meeting is scheduled for Monday, Feb. 4 at 1 p.m. Council will go over the list of supplementary projects, including the Gertrude Street Bridge rehabilitation, and decide which ones to add to the 2019-2023 Five Year Financial Plan.