City seeking help in covering costs of water damage

City of Trail is seeking recovery costs from the province for damages related to the water related events from this past summer.

Although the city has nearly completely recovered from two costly water-related events from the summer, recovery costs in excess of $325,000 are now being sought from the province.

City of Trail engineering technician John Hawes said that two recovery plans—for a June intense rainfall event and high water on the Columbia River—have been submitted and are awaiting approval for funding under the Provincial Emergency Program (PEP).

The two recovery plans identify all of the projects the city needs to do to repair the damage from the two events, said Hawes, and details the costs to complete them. Project costs are at $250,000 for the intense rainfall, and around $75,000 for the high water.

But nearly 75 per cent of the work has already been done, said Hawes.

“It needed to get done, regardless, so we had to do the work,” he said. “So after this we’re now looking for financial support.”

PEP does not provide assistance for rehabilitating eroded earth. Instead, project approval hinges on whether the event affected infrastructure or an access road.

The intense rainfall caused several washouts, ripped up asphalt and washed out catchment basins, creating around 15 different projects throughout the city, ranging in cost from $5,000 to $50,000.

The major project will be rebuilding the shoulder of the road on the S Hill in East Trail, Hawes noted.

A geo-technical survey of the S Hill wall was done last year, and although it looked intact, that conclusion could change once an investigation is complete.

“We want to be assured that it is sound,” Hawes said.

The bill for the high water recovery plan is only for investigation, said Hawes, meaning the costs could run higher.

“We have to investigate the Old Trail Bridge and things like that,” he said. “Once the results of that investigation come, we’ll know if more repairs are needed.”

Larry Abenante, city manager of Public Works, said work has been completed on the S Hill drainage, the city wharf was repaired, a retaining wall on Warren Street is almost finished, and the city is clearing off a bluff on Binns Street.

The major project will be repairing footings on the Columbia River wall later in the winter months.

But the city’s maintenance and Public Works departments are not overloaded. A lot of the projects go out to contract, said Abenante, because that way the city can bill PEP to get 80 per cent of its costs back.

Although PEP had not replied with approval for the two plans, Hawes said, based on discussions with the ministry, the projects were “all very likely to get approved for the repairs.”

However, the city will still be paying around $65,000 for its share of the bill.

A near record river level in July put the city on the hook for over $35,000 in repairs to the regional sewage treatment facility. High water levels on the Columbia River have billed the city 70 per cent of the local costs to repair the Columbia Pollution Control Centre (CPCC) and its Glenmerry Lift Station.

The total bill is $390,000 to the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary for the damage.

The repairs, contractor’s fees, consultant’s fees and regional district staff overtime resulted in significant expenses currently estimated to be about $200,000, with up to $190,000 still expected.

A bill for $365,000 has been submitted to PEP for approval and payment.