When it comes to the city’s infrastructure, what is needed is a long-term plan with all three levels of government.
“Infrastructure is deteriorating faster than we’re maintaining it,” said city manager Garry McKay. “There are more needs than available resources. The capital budget priorities — the money has been spread out to address a little bit of all the needs. If there was more money available, we would do more in the various areas.”
He said the infrastructure is a “perfect storm” in that pretty much everything needs to be replaced at the same time. For example, there are 216 sidewalks that need replacing and 216 kilometres of arterial and residential roads that need replacing. There are also 1,258 sidewalk blocks.
Additionally, the 1950s cardboard lines need to be replaced within 10 years because they are past their 50 years of serviceability. The cast iron lines are also failing and need replacing. McKay said anything implemented pre-1970 is between 40 and 100 years old. There are 268 kilometres of water mains needing replacement, 176 kilometres of trunk sewer mains and 69 kilometres of storm sewers to deal with runoff.
“You can’t ignore one area,” said McKay. “To address the infrastructure deficit, we need the other two levels of government to … increase the available funding so we can do more. That’s the bottom line. It’s not difficult to show where we would spend the money or where the need is.”
The city is following a five-year capital plan in the 2012-2016 capital budget. The five-year plan has expenditures of $87.2 million and $15.69 million in uncompleted capital works. The general capital reserve to be spent over the five years is $42.17 million or an average of approximately $8 million per year. There is a surplus of $453,476 expected in 2016.
One of the eight possible sources for the general capital reserve is federal and provincial contribution. However, McKay said no new grants or programs are expected in 2013.
All of the infrastructure deficits are outlined in the 10-year unfunded capital budget and that has total expenditures of $176.14 million.
Over the 10-year period, expenditures for public works total $68.19 million; parks and recreation total $75.86 million; water utility total $11.67 million; and sanitary sewer utility total $26.47 million.
For more information, see an upcoming edition of the Times-Herald.