Capital projects get green light

An overhaul of Vernon’s infrastructure is moving ahead next year

An overhaul of Vernon’s infrastructure is moving ahead next year.

On Thursday, council approved the budget for the 2016 capital plan, which includes 28 projects.

“The projects contained in the 2016 capital project list continue to strategically replace city assets as guided by the sustainable infrastructure investment plan and the integrated transportation framework,” states a staff report.

Among the work is an upgrade to the final section of Pleasant Valley Road, this time from 32nd to 36th avenue. It will include sidewalks, underground services and new pavement.

On 30th Street, from Highway 6 to 30th Avenue, the plan is for two vehicle lanes, a multi-use path and sidewalks, while the road surface and underground pipes will be redone on 28th and 29th avenues downtown.

“The utilities are past their prime,” said Mark Dowhaniuk, infrastructure engineer.

Other initiatives call for crack sealing along roads, inspection of sewer trunk mains to ensure their integrity and reconstruction of the railway crossing at 41st Avenue.

Roofs will also be replaced at the downtown fire hall, the Okanagan Landing fire hall and the RCMP detachment.

“This will help realize the true life of those buildings,” said Dowhaniuk.

The crosswalk on Alexis Park Drive will be upgraded while concrete pads will be installed at transit stops for benches to sit on.

Also in 2016, the city will continue with improving access points along Okanagan Lake, with the primary focus being on Beachcomber Bay Road.

“We’re looking at some fencing and basic facilities at that site,” said Dowhaniuk.

Sewer could be extended to Cameo Drive at a cost of $2.4 million, but there is no guarantee the project will proceed.

“Several residents are interested but it’s 100 per cent dependent on a successful local vote. Residents there would pay for the service,” said Dowhaniuk.

The 2016 capital budget also calls for $50,000 to be invested in benches, picnic tables and trees throughout the community and $15,000 to improve the trails in Becker Park.

“We’re looking at providing a more gentle grade,” said Dowhaniuk of the trails.

A replacement playground at Heritage Park in the Bella Vista area could cost $90,000 while $25,000 would be spent on a trail that connects Whitecourt Place, Foothills Place and Copper Mountain Court in the Foothills subdivision.

As part of the transition from the regional district to the city operating most parks, $30,000 will be spent on signage in five parks.

“This will let you know you’ve entered a city park,” said Dowhaniuk.

The 2016 capital plan originally called for sidewalk to be installed on 25th Street from 35th Avenue to Pleasant Valley Road, but council has decided to do all of 25th Street from 30th Avenue to 46th Avenue.

The total price tag for the project is $853,000.

“We have the money available in the gas tax reserve so it makes sense to extend the size of the project to get more competitive bids and get a bigger bang for our buck,” said Coun. Bob Spiers.

“There is also a safety factor for citizens accessing schools, etc. along the route. It makes sense to accelerate and complete the project rather than spread it over three more years.”