There are two significant projects on the horizon for the city that could have long-lasting impact in Grand Forks.
An upgrade to the water main service at the city's airport is planned, while an improved geographic information system is also on the work schedule for this year.
City council approved both the application for the 2018 intake of the BC Air Access Program (for $105,000), as well as the application for the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) asset management grant ($48,000) in its Feb. 13 regular meeting.
The airport project is twofold: in addition to allowing for development, the water main upgrade will contribute to better fire flows in the hydrants at the airport, read a city staff report to council.
The successful application of the grant notwithstanding, upgrading the water main servicing the airport is on the proposed list of 2018 capital projects for Grand Forks.
"Allowing the ground and air side developable lands around the airport to build out will provide greater economic opportunity for Grand Forks," read the report.
“This is a good opportunity to expand water services out at the airport,” agreed Coun. Julia Butler.
The 2018 capital project has $75,000 budgeted for improvements. But with the air access grant, an additional $105,000 can be applied to the project "in order to expand the scope to include additional lengths of water main."
The BC Air Access Program grants support small and medium sized communities to improve their airport infrastructure. It allows for projects that provide significant, incremental economic benefit.
The city has been working for the last five years to implement a comprehensive asset management program.
One of the remaining gaps identified in that implementation was the ongoing collection and management of asset data and information.
"Specifically, the spatial information generated by condition assessments and inspections needs a better database and retrieval portal," read a city staff report on the matter.
An improved geographic information system (GIS) was identified as the best mechanism for this. The project would complete the needs assessment of current data and processes, formally implement a GIS for asset management, define workflow standards and fill data gaps.
Toward that end, city council approved the application to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ (FCM) Municipal Asset Management Program for upgrades to the geographic information system and data collection of asset information.
The grant would supplement funds in the current operations budget, with the city anticipating a contributing of $3,500 in software costs and $8,500 in labour costs to the grant, and in turn receiving $48,000 in support from the FCM.
"This is not an additional $12,000 but an existing amount in the proposed 2018 operations budget," the staff report noted.
The FCM's asset management grant aims to improve the asset management readiness of municipalities.