City of Trail seeks funds to tear down old bridge

Trail council will look tp MOT Minister for solution

The Old Trail Bridge has surpassed its useful life and any further investment in the structure would not be prudent, said David Perehudoff on behalf of Trail council.

Following a lead from a previous meeting with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOT), Perehudoff, the city’s chief administrative officer, said Trail council is hoping to discuss the old bridge and the cost to take it down with MOT Minister Todd Stone next month.

During September’s annual Union of British Columbia Municipalities conference in Whistler, the city will seek further advice on how to tie in a grant for the new walking bridge, dependent upon the Aug. referendum, to free up capital to deal with the old bridge.

Tearing down the century-old structure is estimated to exceed $5 million, which presently is a direct cost for Trail taxpayers.

Legislation precludes the city from borrowing to demolish the bridge, explained Perehudoff, adding that the term of debenture must be linked to the useful life of the asset.

“In this respect there would not be an asset remaining,” he said. “And this would seemingly eliminate borrowing as a potential funding structure.”

Any funding coming from the province would be dependent on the referendum succeeding, he added.

“Given that it fits well with many current programs and objectives pertaining to mobility and options that ultimately reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

Following a May counter-petition that sunk the city’s plan to borrow almost $5 million for the foot bridge through the Alternative Approval Process, Trail council directed staff to bump up the project’s visibility in the community.

“Costs for production of information was minimal,” said Perehudoff. “In relation to the overall cost of a new structure and has no direct impact on the final capital cost.”

He said given the confusion associated with people signing the original petition, Trail council considered publishing accurate information a priority, “so people could make an informed decision when voting.”

According to the Acting Mayor of Trail, Robert Cacchioni, council continues to hear that many people signed the petition because they were advised that doing so would support restoration of the old bridge.

“The bridge is not repairable within the reasonable confines the city would be willing to spend on a limited-life project,” he said.

“The city would have to borrow millions with no help from the provincial or federal government. So just to make a driving loop, we’d be paying it off for 30 years.”