Numbers for proposed bridge questioned

"We have been told and it is written in many places and extolled over and over again that the sewer pipe bridge is the most cost effective?"

Our city leaders have adeptly led us to believe that a pedestrian bridge which would hide a sewer line is the best and only solution. So, a few friends and I chose not to take this at face value and investigated. After reading through a ton of meeting minutes and agendas this is what we discovered. As one friend said; who knew that poop could be so interesting! The costs below are from the sewer committee documents.

We have been led to believe that the only option the Regional District and partners are considering is the stand alone sewer pipe bridge?  Well, not so.  According to sewer committee documents three options are being reviewed: Victoria Street Bridge Crossing; Trench and Backfill Crossing that will go under the river, and, what we have been told that they are going to build regardless of how we vote in the referendum, the Stand Alone Sewer Pipe Bridge.

We have been told and it is written in many places and extolled over and over again that the sewer pipe bridge is the most cost effective?

Well, not according to the sewer committee documents.  The most recent cost estimates (as of July 2014) are as follows: Victoria Street Bridge Crossing is $2,706,480; Trench & Backfill (Crossing under the river) is $3,437,000, and; Pipe Bridge estimated at $7,428,808.

Let see, the Pipe Bridge is estimated to cost $4,722,328 higher than the Victoria Street Bridge Crossing.

So, we have partners in the sewer pipe bridge who are responsible for a portion of the costs.  The partners are Trail, Rossland and Warfield.  Trail at 62.56 per cent, Rossland at 24.9 per cent and Warfield at 12.54 per cent. I will let you figure out the costs for each option; or if you would like to contact me I do have the documents and the figures broken down.

But, as an example, the Pipe Bridge would cost Trail $4,647,462 vs Victoria Street Bridge $1,693,174. The Pipe Bridge would cost Rossland $1,849,773 vs $673,914 for the Victoria Street Bridge. The Pipe Bridge would cost Warfield $931,573, vs $339,393 for the Victoria Street Bridge Crossing. Please note that this does not include the $5,816,000 for the estimated cost of the walkway/additional utility line that only Trail would be responsible for.

So, Trail’s cost for the pipe/pedestrian bridge would be $4,647,462 plus $5,816,000 equals $10,463,462 vs $2,706,480 for the Victoria Street Crossing.  I’m pretty sure that this does not include the nearly $500,000 already spent on engineering fees and we should also add in the advertising campaign.

Do you know that the options and costs were to be discussed by the Sewerage Committee on Aug. 5? This was prior to the first day of advance voting of Aug. 13. This meeting was cancelled. Who cancelled the meeting?  Well, it was Trail councillor and Acting Mayor Robert Cacchioni.

While absolutely no decision has been made Trail council has continued to bulldoze ahead while misleading citizens, proceeding with a referendum, advertising campaign, etc. I believe our participating neighbours to be intelligent and they must also answer to their electorate as they, as Trail does, have a vote in the options and must decide what is best for their electorate.

I must say that with the Victoria Street Crossing it would be an excellent opportunity to look at heating the arena or downtown.  A sewage heat recovery would save a ton of money on heating while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.  No poop – check it out – Okanagan College, or False Creek Energy Center. An environmental movement in the right direction that we may be able to get grants on.

Gina Ironmonger

Trail property and business owner