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City of Trail maintains bridge best option for new sewer line

The City of Trail maintains that building a walkway over a new sewer line is the best option for a second crossing over the Columbia River.

A regional district staff report now circulating in the Trail community notes cheaper ways to pump liquid waste above and beneath the waterway, compared to a new aerial crossing upstream from the Old Trail Bridge.

Bryan Teasdale, manager of infrastructure and sustainability for the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary (RDKB) notes in a July 29 report that the new cost estimate for a stand-alone pipe bridge is $7.4 million; attaching a new sewer line to the Victoria Street Bridge would cost about $2.7 million; and laying pipe across the bottom of the river using a trench and backfill crossing method, $3.4 million.

The updated cost estimates do not change the city’s stance that connecting Trail shore-to-shore with a pedestrian bridge would enhance the entire region, and the new numbers still need some work.

“Based on the city’s estimates for the pedestrian/pipe bridge, the city believes that it can take the lead in the project and present a cost to the RDKB that will be lower than another option,” explained David Perehudoff, Trail’s chief administrative officer.

“The pedestrian/pipe bridge offers significance benefits to the city as well as the region,” he added. “This comprehensive solution and partnership with the RDKB is felt to be the best option and is a project that considers a future vision for the city that goes far beyond a crossing for a regional sewer line.”

Teasdale’s report was listed as an item on the Aug. 5 East End Sewerage Committee agenda and available for public viewing, though the website link was removed after the meeting was cancelled.

The meeting, according to RDKB director and committee chair, Coun. Robert Cacchioni, was postponed so that regional district staff and city staff could review the cost options.

He maintains the costs included in the report are “not realistic” and the Victoria Street Bridge and trench option identified in the report have previously been dismissed.

“They have now been re-introduced because the pipe bridge cost alone estimate, which is not accurate in my opinion, came in at 7-plus million,” explained Cacchioni. “The estimates on the August agenda were Class D option costs, which are not to be used for tendering or even decision purposes.”

Regional district staff requested time and met with the City of Trail, he continued, adding that another meeting is planned to ensure the estimates were realistic and not just re-introduced 2011 numbers.

Greg Granstrom, Rossland’s mayor, said while it’s the responsibility of the regional district to replace the current sewer line crossing in the most cost effective manner, “certainly the RDKB could cooperate with the City of Trail and contribute to a new bridge.”

The amount of the contribution has to make sense to taxpayers in the regional sewer service, he said, and it is hoped a final decision on a crossing will be made at September’s sewer committee meeting.

Above the cost issue is the matter of feasibility related to the other two options, said Perehudoff, and that the Victoria Street Bridge option has not been properly evaluated.

Based on the pipe potentially going down Bay Ave., he noted that other utilities could potentially need to be relocated, including two culverts and full curb-to-curb repaving of the city’s streets.

“Beyond this there would be significant disruption to business downtown and the RDKB still does not have official confirmation that the pipe could be placed on the Victoria Street Bridge,” Perehudoff said. “In this respect the city still believes that the pedestrian/pipe bridge will surface as the preferred and only feasible option.”

The city is proceeding with the referendum now because if it passes, Trail will be in a much stronger position to negotiate a final agreement with the RDKB and apportionment of costs.

“It is unfortunate that there are people that seem to be trying to undermine or cast doubt as part of very narrow thinking,” said Perehudoff. “That would see a one-time opportunity lost if the project cannot be brought to fruition”

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