Friday, December 15, 2023

Crestview residents observe 1 year anniversary they likely wish, was not

Applewaite Drive on December 14th, 2023 ... still closed to traffic
one year after the year of water woes began

It was one year ago today, that a battalion of Civic workers and contractors made their way up the hill at Applewaite Drive, the call to action coming as the city's water infrastructure suffered a number of what were described as catastrophic failures. 

The day and weeks to follow, ones where the reservoir supply at Montreal Circle made for the immediate concern coming out of December 15th, 2022.

Applewaite Drive in December of 2022

Thankfully our weather so far is significantly warmer than those frigid days of a year ago that led to multiple failures and the introduction of a Local State of Emergency

And while still a constant game of whack a mole for City Workers, for now, the urgency of a year ago has subsided just a bit.

The State of Local Emergency declared by
Mayor Herb Pond on December 17, 2022

However, up on Crestview, every day must seem like Groundhog Day, as roads get chewed up by excavators, leaving residents of the area with no sense that they'll ever have full access to their neighbourhood. 

The most recent event coming on October 17th, an incident which the Mayor described as "Armageddon like" for the Vancouver media.  

But, it's also an incident which the city has yet to provide a full explanation towards, particularly when it comes to what happened and how it happened when it comes to that latest near peril event.

While Crestview makes for the longest running piece of infrastructure work from the last 365 days, over on the west side of the city, another project is now moving into the extended inconvenience stage.

Work on infrastructure issues on Kootenay at McKay began during the summer, the location one of many big digs of 2023, though as of this week there is no indication to be seen that the road will return to service any time soon.

Work on Kootenay Avenue has gone from Summer to winter seasions
with no indication that the end is in sight for residents

The State of Local Emergency captured the attention of Victoria, with Premier David Eby making a Saint Patrick's Day appearance to deliver 65 million dollars in Provincial funding for the city's infrastructure challenges.

The City has followed up with its own 45 million dollar Loan Authorization approved in August, that following a public consultation by way of the Alternate Approval process.

City's Water woes and potential solutions make for strong current of conversation for Special Council Session

However, a lot of the future work seems to hinge on that massive amount of 82 million dollars in Federal funding that the city has been seeking, though despite being raised a few times on Parliament Hill in recent months, there has yet be any announcement towards the city's request. 

October 19 -- Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Taylor Bachrach takes Tuesday's water line failure to the House of Commons
October 5 -- Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Taylor Bachrach raises Prince Rupert infrastructure concerns once again as part of Parliamentary Committee session

The prospect of a Christmas funding present from Ottawa seems unlikely now, what with the MPs all heading back home this weekend and not destined for a return until January 30th.

That would suggest that the quest for funding from 2023 will continue to be on the wish list for 2024.

The last informative update on the status of the Federal funding request came through a Chamber of Commerce Breakfast in September, where Mayor Pond observed on the impact of the federal delay.

"The extensive stall on federal funding to fix the city’s pipes has meant the city has gone millions of dollars over its annual budget, and have been unable to do long-lasting, impactful work on the water system." 

Some form of status check on that application and an indication as to what the city will do in the interim, should be a focus for Council come their first meeting of January.

Once the major work ahead commences, Mayor Pond and council have warned residents of the challenges ahead and how these types of long running projects will make for much inconvenience.

The city does host some background information on the community infrastructure replacement program, that through their Rupert Talks project.

However, the last item on their news feed goes back to the March funding announcement by the Premier.

One way to reduce some of the frustration for the public, would be through more frequent updates to that Portal and a bit more promotion for it.  

As well the City should consider an add on to the current civic webesite piece, with a check list  towards how each area of work is progressing and some kind of a timeline as to when it's anticipated each phase will take to be completed.

September saw the Mayor and Director of Operations and Intergovernmental Relations  Richard Pucci provide for a tutorial of the water issues.

Hopefully, with the New Year comes a return to the Whiteboard, for both, though perhaps just focused on the repair plans and a timeline for them. 

That so as to bring everyone, but in particular the long suffering residents of Crestview some sense of the light at the end of their tunnel.

A look at the long list of infrastructure challenges can be reviewed here

The work of the City's Operations Department is archived here.

Past Council Discussions can be explored here.

1 comment:

  1. Happy Birthday Crestview Residents!

    If the city cannot repair a block in a year, how do they expect to repair 26kms of pipe in three years?