City project delayed one year

ARMSTRONG: Number of factors lead council to defer major project to next year

Major infrastructure repairs to Armstrong’s Willowdale Drive and Patterson Avenue, scheduled to take place this year, have been pushed back to 2018. (Black Press file photo)

Armstrong’s major capital project for 2017 has been pushed back a year.

Complete upgrades to road/sidewalk/water/sewer on Willowdale Drive and Patterson Avenue were scheduled to take place this year. But a number of factors led council to unanimously vote to move the project to 2018.

City public works manager Doug MacKay said, in a report to council, he had discussions with the project’s engineering firm in regards to the tender date and potential technical and economic issues.

“Everyone involved with this project is concerned about achieving a good outcome with the issues we are facing,” said MacKay.

Issues include timeliness, ie, getting late in the season to tender the project; contractors have indicated they already have a lot of projects this season so pricing may be high; the work requires easements, land purchases or statutory right of way grants for 15 property owners. All property owners need to agree and give the city the legal authority; and due to the major weather events of the spring, groundwater levels are higher than normal.

“It is difficult to itemize this prior to tendering which would impact the final cost of the project due to change orders or force account items,” said MacKay.

The two projects would cost a combined $865,000 which the city has budgeted.

The city will tender the projects in January.

Rail trail corridor

Armstrong is watching the alternate approval process, currently underway, in regards to the Regional District of North Okanagan’s hope to borrow $2.3 million over 20 years to purchase the abandoned line between Armstrong and Sicamous.

The line’s southern terminus is within the city’s boundaries.

“The city will not become an owner of the property nor will the annual debut servicing costs and future trail costs affect the city’s budget,” said city chief financial officer Terry Martens. “All prorated funding from Armstrong taxpayers would flow through the regional district’s tax levy that the city collects on behalf of the regional district.”

Should RDNO be successful in borrowing the money, Martens said it’s estimated the annual debt servicing costs over the life of the loan will be $159,000. Armstrong’s portion would be slightly more than 20 per cent or $31,864. The RDNO tax impact on the rail corridor loan would be an increase of $13.19 per house in Armstrong.

The alternate approval process is ongoing until July 17. If 10 per cent of eligible voters oppose the borrowing, the project and borrowing cannot proceed.