Storm water infrastructure in Penticton underfunded: consultant - InfoNews

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Storm water infrastructure in Penticton underfunded: consultant

A storm water drain is pictured in this Wikimedia Commons photo.
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons/Michelle Arseneault
December 06, 2016 - 7:00 PM

PENTICTON - Another piece of the City of Penticton's infrastructure was put under the microscope and found to be underfunded.

Consultants from Urban Systems Ltd. brought city council up to speed today, Dec. 6, on their feasability study into a dedicated storm water fund for Penticton.

While council continues discussions with the public about how to handle the city’s looming $175 million infrastructure deficit, Urban System's report added to next year's budget requests with a recommendation to boost storm water funding in future years to ensure sustainability.

Consultant Cory Sivell said storm water funding is often ignored by many municipalities because it competes with all the other infrastructure needs of a city.

He said Penticton owns $74 million worth of storm water infrastructure in the form of pipes, culverts and discharge structures. That infrastructure is currently underfunded in an amount ranging from $100,000 to $975,000.

Sivell said not maintaining storm water infrastructure could lead to flooding, decreased service levels and potential asset failure when roads and sidewalks are undermined by excessive storm water flow.

A list of seven Canadian communities noted annual charges of between $90 and $400 for storm water funding, with an average cost of $165 for the communities listed. Sivell said based on Penticton’s present spending on storm water infrastructure, ratepayers were paying between $20 and $30 annually on storm water. A sustainable funding model would cost between $50 to $100 annually.

Sivell offered several different funding options for staff and council to explore, recommending a parcel tax based on property class with a connection charges for users directly connected to the system. The money would be directed to a dedicated reserve fund that would appear as a separate line item on resident’s tax notices. There would be no tax increase in the first year, with increases over time to fill the present funding gap.

He recommended council consider the fund for inclusion into the 2017 budget, with plans to complete an implementation study at a cost of $40,000.


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