The referendum question being voted on is misleading. The $4.9 million amount represents less than half the estimated $12.9 million project cost. It excludes the $500,000 already spent by the City of Trail and, if the Regional District pays for the remaining $7.5 million, City of Trail taxpayers share is 62.5 per cent, or another $4.7 million. However, the Regional District is investigating other sewer crossings that may cost much less than $7.5 million. If feasible, the Regional District would only contribute that lesser amount to the Walking Bridge, leaving Trail taxpayers even deeper on the hook.
The referendum wording suggests the Regional District is leading the bridge proposal. The reality is they have not finished identifying and analyzing alternate crossings. They have not contributed to the $500,000 in engineering costs “invested” by the City of Trail. They have not formally reviewed or costed any proposed structure.
The tail is wagging the dog. The City has done everything to cast this as a sewer pipe bridge with “pedestrian walkway, water main line and fibre optic conduit” add-ons. However, it’s likely there are several better and cheaper routes for the sewer line. The West Trail and East Trail water systems are already interconnected via the Victoria Street Bridge, another interconnection isn’t required. Not surprisingly, Mayor Boggs has stated the water line will not be connected until later. This is a Walking Bridge being cast in whatever light is necessary to mislead senior levels of government to pay for it.
In support of its misleading referendum question, the City has published unsupported or misattributed statements.
A key source of information that City of Trail staff represents as an “engineering opinion” is actually a slide show on the City of Trail’s template. No engineering firm’s name or signature is included in the document.
Furthermore, the city flyer that was delivered to all homes includes a quote attributed to Buckland & Taylor, 2010. I have a copy of their 2010 engineering report that does not include the statement and city staff cannot provide me the source document for their quote.
Sadly, I have lost confidence in council’s ability to conduct the city’s business. Recent disastrous decisions include:
• Victoria Street Upgrade
• Airport Purchase
• Area A Expansion
• Violin Lake Walking Trail
The recent city budget shows a transfer from city reserves of$2,639,700. Their spending habits are so out of control, the city manager warned council, in red writing, that the continuing draw on reserves is not sustainable. Reserves have continued to be used to supplement the capital plan.