Thursday, December 10, 2015

Fraser Street rebuild goes on pause; while other infrastructure projects move forward

The City's CFO provided an update
on some of the infrastructure plans
ahead for 2016

Tucked away in a corner of a Report from the Financial Department to City Council on Monday night was one line of text that will catch the attention of those on Fraser Street, a notice that will probably bring a bit of disappointment for those who thought that plans were moving ahead nicely on the rebuild of the downtown core neighbourhood.

As part of a report for Council attached to the Agenda for Monday evening's session (see Page 15), Corinne Bomben, the City's Chief Financial Officer noted that the Fraser Street reconstruction project would be put on hold until further notice.

That decision apparently required owing to the expected significant cost to complete the project and the immediate needs of other capital repairs.

Ms. Bomben adds in her written report that it will remain on pause, until the utilities funds and the general operations reserves (or new investment in the City) can provide the funds necessary to complete Phase Two of the project.

It makes for a puzzling decision by Council, considering how the City recently launched a new initiative to rebuild the city's Third Avenue sidewalks, seemingly made before deciding to stop work on the Fraser Street rebuild.

Stopping one project, while launching another is not something we imagine that will be featured as part of the upcoming Re:Build Rupert updates.

Phase Two of the Fraser Street
remediation project has been
delayed until further notice
The long desired remediation of the Fraser Street area has been a frequently delayed process and only found its final approval in the last year of Mayor Jack Mussalem's term in office. It was only late this fall that Phase One of the reconstruction project was completed, with Mayor Lee Brain and Council making note of that success earlier this year.

And while she did not mention the Fraser Street setback in her public comments on Monday, Ms. Bomben did offer up some promising trends for a few of the city's infrastructure plans, with notes on planned work on a number of items ahead in 2016 including:

Work on the first stage of the  City's water supply project, with the construction of an access road to the Woodworth Dam and the lowering of the supply line below ground to protect it.

Required work for the Digby Island Ferry Dock on Kaien Island, which needs repairs to maintain its flotation.

As well, work will continue around town on a number of stacked rock retaining walls holding up the road network and the Second Avenue Bridge will need the same type of bridge deck maintenance as that which was done to the 6th Avenue Bridge in the summer of 2014.

She also made note that at this time, based on the preliminary budget for 2016 and with no change to services, that the property taxmill rate increase will be approximately 2 % in order to fund needed capital repairs and items for continued City Operations

Council members had no public comment to make related to the decision to hold off on further work on the Fraser Street project during Monday's council session, moving quickly to adopt the motion and move on to other business.

You can review the presentation to Council as part of the City's Video Archive it starts at the 1 hour point.

More background on infrastructure plans for the City can be found here.

While further items related to discussion topics at City Council can be found on our Archive page here.

No comments:

Post a Comment