An unexpected surplus in the Fifth Avenue water tower project will allow Burns Lake to invest in two additional infrastructure projects while paying for three projects included in the 2017 budget.
The Village of Burns Lake has recently awarded the construction services component of the water tower project to LB Paving in the amount of $539,830. This completes the known costs of the project for a total cost of $1,781,354, leaving a surplus of $843,068.
“We were expecting to complete the project and pay $529,931; now we can complete the project, add three additional projects that were already being done in our existing budget, add two additional projects that should be done in the near future, and still only pay $395,909,” explained Burns Lake director of public works Dale Ross.
“Not only are we paying less than expected, we are also eliminating several expenses from our operating and capital budgets; therefore, we can add more to reserves at the end of the year,” he added.
The surplus will allow the village to speed up its water treatment project, which would filter the manganese in the village’s water systems.
Manganese is responsible for the discolouration of tap water sometimes seen in Burns Lake. The village says this one of the most frequent complaints they receive from the public.
While the original plan was to only invest in a pilot study this year, the surplus will allow the village to also invest in a water treatment system design.
“The water treatment system design would be a project we would be looking to do next, after the assessment and pilot study are complete,” explained Ross. “Completing the design phase now will ensure we are completely shovel ready when we apply to the next available grant.”
The final phase of the project, which would involve the installation of the treatment system, could cost between $2 and $4 million.
The village says the concentration of manganese in Burns Lake is “relatively low,” and that it has no known adverse health effects. However, Ross says this is something that the village needs to address.
“Currently, with manganese, there’s only an aesthetic problem, but we heard in informal talks with Northern Health that the standard for manganese may be up for review and could change in coming years,” he said last year.
The unexpected surplus will also allow the village to pay for the final portion of the radio tower project, which will put new radios on a different frequency and change location of the radio tower to eliminate interference problems. In addition, the surplus will pay for a booster valves replacement project.
Furthermore, the surplus will allow the village to complete its booster upgrade project, which will upgrade pumps, motors and electrical panels. Since these items are 15 to 20 years old, Ross says that replacing them now will eliminate the risk of breakdowns in the near future.
The new Fifth Avenue water tower is currently being constructed. Installation will begin this summer and the project is expected to be completed by the fall of 2017, ahead of its March 2018 deadline.