Sanitary systems, water supply, and storm drains aren’t the most glamorous topics politicians talk about.
But existing infrastructure was the hot topic during Warfield council March 11, because according to its engineering consultants, data for the village bones is out-of-date and in some cases, absent.
Council opted to get back on track through the UBCM Asset Management Program to help unify village departments and introduce better ways to collect and upkeep asset information.
“The long term sustainability of our village is the top priority for this council,” said Warfield Mayor Ted Pahl. “To that end, we have engaged a consulting group to come in and lead us through a strategic planning exercise.”
Infrastructure needs and building a solid written community plan remain a priority, Pahl added. “This will enable better understanding of what grant money is available and will give structure to the process of making sound decisions.”
By 2016, the province requires eligible municipalities, like Warfield, to submit an asset management program update before receiving its annual Small Community Grant. The grants provide $200,000 plus $50 per capita in towns up to 5,000 people.
To help communities with planning and enhancing asset management practises in the next year, the province set aside $1.5 million to match respective grants up to $10,000.
TRUE Consulting was hired to help access the infrastructure needs of the village (specifically water and sewer), said Pahl, noting the company gave its first presentation to council as an overview of work already done and initial recommendations.
“Projects are not numbered yet in priority,” he continued. “We are accessing the financial capacity of the village through the budget process, which has not been finalized.”
Council’s next step is to meet with TRUE for a one-day planning session to gain a complete picture and start prioritizing the village’s needs.
Current infrastructure fixes council is considering include sewer capacity issues on Forrest Drive, storm culvert replacements and erosion at Beaver Bend.
A long term matter involves a complete change in the village’s water supply. Teck currently supplies Warfield water through its Columbia River pumping system. The company has given Warfield until 2022 to design another water supply system, and until 2025 for its completion.
“Council is aware that the water deal with Teck does expire,” said the mayor. “But how we tackle that issue has not been discussed. Before anything happens we want to explore all the options.”