Public expectations may have to evolve if ballooning infrastructure costs are to be trimmed.
The City of Vernon is currently in the midst of an integrated transportation framework that will look at road reconstruction and maintenance.
“We want to chip some of the costs off,” said Michael Trickey, with consulting firm Strategic Infrastructure Management.
However, that may mean residents will see road widths narrow, shoulders may shrink and curbs and gutter could go from concrete to asphalt.
Mayor Rob Sawatzky admits that dealing with public expectations could be a challenge.
“The issue gets complex with the size of the vehicles on residential streets — quarter-ton trucks instead of smaller cars,” he said.
The city has $375 million in road assets and there is a $40 million backlog in work.
“Cost containment is so important. It’s not about raising taxes people don’t have,” said Trickey.
Trickey says there is a need to look at the specific function of a road and to not over-design.
“How many lanes do there have to be? How many shoulders? Does there have to be a bike path?” he said, adding that maintenance factors to consider are landscaping, snow storage and street lighting.
“Every time you do a road, you need to ask, ‘How is it impacting my maintenance costs?’”
It’s expected the integrated transportation framework will be presented to council for consideration in February.
“It gives me a sense of confidence in what we’re trying to do,” said Coun. Juliette Cunningham.
Sawatzky believes it is important for the city to look at reducing costs instead of just relying on increasing taxes.
“It’s essential to manage infrastructure in an affordable manner,” he said.