Bridge workers were finishing off the Skywalk handrails on a drizzly Tuesday morning.

Bridge workers were finishing off the Skywalk handrails on a drizzly Tuesday morning.

Skywalk agreement under review

Rossland and Warfield defer signing an agreement with Trail for the operation and maintenance of the Skywalk.

The platform and handrails are all in place, but the Skywalk hit a roadblock recently Rossland and Warfield have stalled on signing the bridge’s Operation and Maintenance Agreement (OMA).

Contrary to the regional district’s recommendation to endorse the agreement for finalization, Director Lloyd McLellan of Rossland moved the matter be deferred to respective councils and Warfield Director Brett Rakuson seconded the motion.

“During the early negotiations for the construction of the pipe/pedestrian bridge there were two agreements,” explained Trail Mayor Mike Martin. “A funding agreement and an OMA. The funding agreement was signed off and we put together the framework for the operation and maintenance,” he added.

“The premise for that, is, that there would be a shared partnership based on the capital expenditure for the components of this bridge.”

Deferrment from the East End Sewerage Committee was brought to the table at Trail’s Oct. 11 governance meeting, though city council reaffirmed its support and approval of the OMA as it is currently written.

“Unbeknownst to us, this was raised at the sewer committee meeting asking for a review by councils, that’s what we did at our GOC (Governance and Operations Committee) meeting,” Martin said. “We are indicating that we are fully prepared to honour the previous negotiated agreement that was put in place and we don’t see any reason to differ from that since the rationale was firmly established in an appropriate sharing based on capital costs.”

The Trail Times reached out to Rossland and Warfield but did not receive a response.

As it stands now, the OMA states the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary (RDKB) and the City of Trail have agreed on a maintenance costs funding formula for the bridge and works to apply once the bridge and works have been constructed and commissioned, subject to the consent of service participants.

“There is a component associated with the sewer line and a component associated with the pipe/pedestrian part,” Martin clarified. “So the agreement that was arrived at, at this point in time, was based on that concept and formula. We assumed that would just proceed, we are now in a position with the final numbers to get that concluded and signed off.”

According to the OMA, the city is wholly responsible for maintaining, repairing, and replacing, as necessary, the bridge. The service provider, the RDKB, provides the service for interception, treatment and disposal of sewage.

But nothing is ever that clear when it comes to sewer.

The point of collection referred to as the “Works” does not include any bridge superstructure required to support the works across the Columbia River, but does include the fixtures, fitting and appurtenances necessary to affix the works to the bridge.

“It is an integrated bridge,” Martin concluded. “(The utility and the bridge) are not separate, the support structure that holds the sewer line up also hold the pedestrian crossing up, so they are entirely integrated and not two independent components. It’s complex and we still don’t know why it got raised at the sewer committee level, but it did, and we’ve now responded.”