What’s next for Grand Forks’ infrastructure plans?

Mayor Brian Taylor and city council are to begin work on developing and reconstructing an aging infrastructure in Grand Forks.

Mayor Brian Taylor and the council are to begin work on developing and reconstructing an aging infrastructure in Grand Forks.

The majority of voters were in favour of two infrastructure-related referendum questions during the recent municipal election, approving Bylaw No. 1922 and Bylaw No. 1923.

The approval of both referendum questions will allow updates to the aging infrastructure and Taylor pointed out that the city would need to look into partnerships with the federal and provincial government.

“I need to thank the community for putting us a position to go forward and negotiate for them with the two other levels of government,” said Taylor. “We’re in the middle of winter so it’s going to be hard to do much but to get ready for spring.”

Re-elected city councillor Cher Wyers agreed. “We’re not looking to jump out of the gate because we have the support of the taxpayers to go ahead and borrow. We’re going to strategically look for funding opportunities first, where we can leverage those funds to reduce the burden on the community.

“I can see us revisiting the strategic action plan that the outgoing council initiated in January 2009.”

Wyers mentioned that one of the projects completed was the lift station.

“I can see that that’s probably the direction that this new council will be taking, is revisiting the strategic action plan of January 2011 to see where we can move forward.”

The strategic action plan meeting would include staff and city works staff.

Wyers stated there were steps that had to be approached first but the 2009 Kerr Wood Leidal report – assessing existing infrastructure in Grand Forks – identified various issues that needed to be addressed, such as what needs upgrading, cost estimates and prioritization of what had to be completed first. The plan included sanitary system, potable water system, storm water system and road transportation.

“We have priorities that I can name off the bat, such as 68th Avenue,” said Wyers. “I don’t think it takes much to see the work that’s required there.”

Wyers also pointed out that the road to the hospital, 22nd Street, was in need of repairs.

Bylaw No. 1922, the first of the referendum questions, requested the borrowing of $1.3 million for the emergency water supply for fire protection.

The second question, Bylaw No. 1923, requested funds of $4.2 million for the renewal of road, water and sewer infrastructure. Both would use a 25-year debt term.