Regional district infrastructure debt in the millions of dollars | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Regional district infrastructure debt in the millions of dollars

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November 20, 2016 - 6:30 PM

PENTICTON - A consultant's review of assests has concluded the South Okanagan-Similkameen Regional District isn't in as bad shape as other municipalities when it comes to infrastructure deficit.

The district board got a look at the report from Urban Systems at its meeting on Thursday, Nov. 17. The focus of the review was to help directors better understand the long term costs associated with the district’s infrastructure, which is worth about $137.1 million.

Those assest include sanitary sewers ($27.8 million), water systems ($67.3 million), fleet system ($9.5 million), and buildings and landfills ($32.5 million).

Cory Sivell with Urban Systems calculated the regional district’s infrastructure deficit at between $2.2 and $5.5 million.

“That’s not as high as other communities,” Sivell said, but added the regional district, based on a 20-year average annual investment, should be saving and/or spending between $615,000 and $1.9 million each year on infrastructure renewal.

Sivell told the board next steps include developing a better understanding of revenues collected and costs associated with infrastructure, noting the regional district collects less in revenues than it spends for the services it's infrastructure delivers.

He said an increased understanding of risk as it relates to level of service is also important, noting some services can be allowed to operate until failure with fewer negative consequences than others. Sivell also noted improved decision making and organizational processes within the regional district through the budgeting process and focus on regular maintenance would also help to close the cost-revenue gap.

Penticton director Andrew Jakubeit said the City of Penticton's infrastructure deficit is estimated to be as high as $175 million, although he also said the city held more than a billion dollars’ worth of assets.

Calling it “a good idea” to look at the infrastructure deficit, Jakubeit said feedback and an engagement strategy with regional district residents would be useful, noting there were several ways the deficit could be managed, but a plan was needed.

“We haven’t been paying our way. We have to look at that,” Summerland director Peter Waterman said.

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