OP/ED: City of Trail defends its decision not to restore old bridge
Ed. Note: The following is a press release issued by the City of Trail:
Trail Council would like to clarify the misinformation being presented by petition canvassers to Trail’s citizens in regards to the future pipeline/pedestrian bridge which will accommodate a secondary water pipeline, a gas pipeline and a sewer interceptor. Since the City advertised* its intent to adopt the Loan Authorization Bylaw for the bridge, petitioners with no professional credentials in engineering, bridge construction or water and pipeline structures have been relaying incorrect information to the public.
“The public is entitled to petition the City’s intent to adopt the bylaw, however we are very concerned about the false information that is being provided to the community by these canvassers,” says Mayor Bogs.
“We’ve invested a lot of money, time and effort into this project as it is an essential component of the City’s downtown revitalization plan and a crucial structure for the City’s secondary waterline and sewer interceptor,” continues Bogs.
The City was recently approached by petition canvassers claiming that: Trail can connect to Warfield’s water system as a secondary source; the City should invest thousands of dollars into a study to determine the cost of running the sewer interceptor over the new bridge; the City should hire a different engineering firm to provide a cost estimate in repairing and restoring the old bridge; not enough information was provided to the public about the pipeline/pedestrian bridge. In order to clarify these incorrect statements above, Mayor Bogs provides the following comment:
“In regards to connecting to the Village of Warfield’s water system in lieu of running a secondary water line over the future pipeline/pedestrian bridge; this is not a feasible option. We are two distinct municipalities and the water systems of each municipality must remain separate from each other for reasons of public health and municipal liability. As well, a secondary water line over the future bridge will improve water availability in cases of emergency and will also provide improved water quality. Moving and running the sewer interceptor over the new bridge is also not a feasible option; engineering studies have already ruled this out as a non-cost-effective solution. Restoring the old bridge is not a cost-effective solution. Reputable engineering experts with vast experience in bridge construction and restoration have deemed the old bridge unsafe. Although millions of dollars could be invested into restoring the piers, the bridge structure would soon be condemned. This would not be a responsible investment by the City.
Lastly, to claim there hasn’t been enough information about the future pipeline/pedestrian bridge is also incorrect. In 2011, following the closure of the Old Bridge, the City held several open-house events in order to gather feedback and comments from the community. As a result, over 1,500 survey responses were received. Furthermore, the future bridge has been covered extensively by local media, been discussed with Mayor and Council at Regular Council Meetings and during public consultations at the Trail Market on the Esplanade, the Waneta Plaza and the Trail Regional Airport. An up-to-date information sheet was provided at the aforementioned consultations and has been and is available at City Hall and the Trail Regional Airport. The project is also prominently available on the City’s website and was highlighted in the City’s autumn 2013 and spring 2014 newsletters, distributed to every resident in Trail and also available online.
If citizens have questions regarding the future pipeline/pedestrian bridge, they are encouraged to contact the City’s Engineering Department at 250-364-0807. If individuals have questions about the petition that they may have signed under false pretenses or want their name removed from it, they should contact the City’s Corporate Administrator at 250-364-0800.
*According to Provincial law, the City is obligated to advertise two times its intent to adopt a Loan Authorization Bylaw. On April 3rd and April 8th, the City of Trail advertised its intent adopt a Loan Authorization Bylaw to borrow $4,916,000 over a 25 year term in order to construct, as a joint venture with the RDKB, a pipe/pedestrian bridge crossing the Columbia River. The purpose of the bylaw is to authorize the financing of the City’s share of the project. Council may adopt the bylaw unless, by Friday, May 9, 2014, at least 10% of the electors in the City of Trail, to which this alternative approval process applies, indicate that Council must obtain the assent of the electors before proceeding.