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Prince Rupert needing almost $150 million for infrastructure projects in the coming years
The City of Prince Rupert has nearly $150 million in needed infrastructure projects in the coming years.
That was the message chief financial officer Corinne Bomben gave the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services during a budget consultation meeting held in Prince Rupert on Oct. 9. Bomben outlined three major areas of concerns, the first of which has to do with how residents get their water.
"We have a 100-year-old dam and raw water supply line ... some of our redundancy pumps in the event of waterline damage are so old that the original manufacturers told us to call a museum if we need parts," she told the committee.
"We have identified that to replace the components of the water system, upgrade the dam and put in an access road will cost taxpayers approximately $12 million. In addition to the main system, approximately 25 percent of our main trunk water systems in the city are pre-1925 lines."
The second concern is one of road safety, and one that must be addressed sooner than later.
"We have three wooden trestle bridges that are over 70 years old. We have boasted to the Premier that we are the world authority on keeping them going ... two of these bridges connect two of our major subdivisions," she explained.
"These are to be replaced at a cost of approximately $2 million each, and we expect the load limits for these bridges will be downgraded in the interest of public safety."
The third and final need is by far the largest – a way of keeping raw sewage out of the harbour.
"Liquid waste regulations are requiring our community to do secondary treatment of our liquid waste. We currently don't even have primary treatment. We have 12 direct outflows into the harbour. The treatment facilities that will be required and the separation of the storm and sewer lines are estimated at approximately $130 million," she said.
The main message to the committee was, simply, Prince Rupert needs help if it is going to meet the needs of growing with the industrial development proposed for the region.
"Our city is made up of approximately 14,000 people. Our people can't do this alone. With industrial developments years from adding to our community's tax base, Prince Rupert lacks the revenue to invest in the infrastructure that will enable the economic development to support the unprecedented interest for industrial development in the northwest."