Trent Ernst, Editor
Council pre-approved another batch of projects ahead of formally passing the 2015 budget, though, says CAO Barry Elliott, many of these are projects that are already underway.
That is due to the way budgeting has to happen at a municipal level. If a project is unfinished the previous year, the unspent funds are put back into general revenues.
But not all projects are wrapped up neatly by December 31, and so, says Elliott, Council has to re-approve these projects, and, for the ones that are underway currently, they have to pre-approve.
Line painting: $33,000
Every two years, Public works re-does the centre lines in town, and this, says Elliott, is the year to get it done. This is not a carry-over from last year, but needs to be done early in the year after the roads are swept but before they get too dirty again, as well as before the people who do the line painting are completely booked up.
Councillor Kirby asks about inserting dino footprint in the road line painting.
Elliott says it’s a decision of Council if you want to do anything fancy, but Operations Manager Doug Beale says we can only road mark to what the motor vehicle act says. He says the town couldn’t do it on the centre line, but he’d have to do some investigation into maybe doing it along the side. He notes that ICBC might be giving a grant for pet crossing, and the footprints could be used on that.
Beale says the lines have to be re-painted every two years because all the sand and salt that goes on the road in winter is like sandpaper on the paint.
In order to paint the centre lines, the District contracts that out says Beale, but there is a small line painter that the District owns, and these are things that can be done later by in-house.
Councillor Caisley asks what the intent of the tracks would be?
Councillor Kirby says it’s to let people know they’re in a town that celebrates its dinosaurs. “With the Geopark and the Museum, we should be celebrating our dinosaurs,” she says. “Hudson’s Hope is far more dino-centric than we are. It would be a little addition, a little ‘wow’.”
EDO Jordan Wall reminds Council that there are dino footprints coming for the walking tour downtown, and Elliott says the Dinosaur Footprints should be brought before Council. The line painting is approved.
Surge Tank: $6600
Again, not a carry-over, but needs to be done during the pool shut down, which will happen before the budget is finalized.
Councillor Krakowka asks if this is tied to the whole Chlorine vs Salt issue? No, says Building Official Ken Klikach, it needs to be done either way.
Town Hall Building Envelope: $60,000
Council needs to spend $60,000 for engineering so that they can begin improvements to the Town Hall Building Envelope, which includes things like replacing and upgrading the insulation, changing doors, changing windows, re-doing the stucco and fixing the roof leaks.
Councillor Howe asks if they are paying $60,000 for an opinion? Klikach says, no, this is because of the specifications under Section 3 of the building code, as Town Hall is considered a complex building. “We got the inspection done last fall,” says Klikach. “We need to do make structural changes. It’s not just change the window, for instance, it’s replacing the flashing with specially designed flashing and everything.”
Mayor McPherson asks about the general lifespan for these things.
Klikach says we’ve got great usage out of the first go around. He points out the town did the envelope of the rec centre five years ago, so about twenty five or thirty years. “Once the windows start getting vapour in the glass, it will go into the wall cavity. To save the building, you need to do these things.”
Also, says Klikach, this is a shelf project. If we had this sitting on the shelf, we may be able to get a good grant on this.
Councillor Scott asks how long the engineering specifications are good for. Klikach says until project is done.
Scott asks why don’t the builders know what they have to do?
Klikach says that town hall is a Complex Building under part three of the building code, and that no builder would touch it without the Engineering report.
Councillor Krakowka asks if there’s other things that’s on the shelf that we need an engineer on that would come in? Say the upgrade at Public Works. Is there other buildings that can be looked at?
Klikach says he hasn’t really identified other projects that need engineering like this. “We’re slowly cleaning up the whole town.”
Krakowka suggests tabling it until we know if we need an engineer to look at, say, the Fire Department roof and the Public Works building
Replace Golf Carts
There’s a lot of new information on this since the last time it was discussed, says Elliott. He says the District originally had 20 carts, and there are 13 still working.
Previous lessee had brought in 12 gas golf carts that are eight years old. The owners of those have proposed that the District could purchase these for $29,400.
A further $15,000 would be incorporated into the public works operating budget to service existing carts.
Councillor Krakowka says thanks to Beale for the email he sent out after last week’s discussion.
Councillor Howe says the price per cart isn’t a great deal. “If the District were running the golf course, this would be a good deal, but if we’re leasing this out, it doesn’t make sense. Shouldn’t that be the responsibility of the lease holder?”
Elliott says it is a good deal for the lease holder.
Councillor Howe asks around what the time frame is on this?
Elliott says they were going to come today to pick up the carts, so they need to hear back as soon as possible
Councillor Mackay agrees with Councillor Howe.
Elliott will be discussing this with the two people who have submitted Request for Proposals (RFPs). He says that all of the current carts are 2007 models.
Vote is called. Passes. Councillor Krakowka and Scott opposed.
Visitor Information Centre
These are a number of items that weren’t included in the RFP, totaling $293,000, for the building itself, but in order to open, these are the components that are critical to get moving on to get the facility opened on time. These weren’t identified in the RFP, that was strictly for the building and services.
Councillor Caisley says that, if you add the two amounts together, it means we’re about $650,000 over budget.
“What you have is an approved budget of $1.5 million,” says Elliott. “That’s still on target.” These are additional things needed to finish the building.
Councillor Caisley asks why weren’t these other items considered at the time? “For us to feel confident that it won’t happen again on the next project?”
Elliott says the building is turnkey. There was lots of discussion as for what was included in the RFP. It didn’t include ground work, or what needs to be done. But he says it should have been added to that project.
The original budget of $1.53 million included $1.232 to the contractors to build the building, says Elliott. Along with that was a total of about $260,80 The total spent so far is $1.493 million and the budget is $1.53 million, so currently, says Elliott, the project is under budget.
In addition, cash allowance items outside that contract are going to run to about $178,000.
“On the contract itself we have $223,549 remaining that hadn’t been spent as of end of calendar year. That component is still on budget as is the 1.232 part of the building.”
The cash allowance item are in addition to those items that initially the District thought the contractor might do, but ultimately decided to do themselves, says Elliott. “These were decisions made on some of the tasks, including road crossing and block heaters, which we overspent by about $4000.”
He says there have been some upgrades that have added to the cost of the building. “Upgrading the roof from a 20 year roof to a 50 year roof, for instance. And during the course of building a project like this, you find things like data drops for computers, for instance, because you needed to get those in before everything is finished, and these weren’t determined to be needed until the building was under construction.”
Mayor McPherson says he thought the $1.5 million was “so we could walk in. I know we have to do this, because we need to finish the building. It’s the biggest project I’ve been involved in, and I don’t think we got all the information that we needed to get at the time. I know we can’t have the exact budget, but I think we should have had this information coming forward as it happened.”
Elliott agrees. “Were the decisions correct? I believe they were. But the error here is it wasn’t brought forward as it was happening, and I take responsibility for that.”
Mayor McPherson says the sooner the building gets done, the sooner the District can start using it. “My opinion is we should be passing this motion, but asking for information as to where things went wrong.”
Councillor Howe says the only thing he’d like to look at is the landscaping and lawn. He says there’s someone coming forward to talk about re-doing the grass on the Secondary School field, and maybe it would be possible to tag teaming with that?
Councillor Scott asks if there is a community planner who looks at these sort of projects and ties them together?
Elliott says we typically work with Urban Systems, but in this case the project is being headed by Mr Klikach.
Councillor Mackay says there is already a commitment from Urban Systems to donate their expertise around the planning of this. Mr Elliott says he is aware of that.
Tonight, says Elliott, there is $293,230 being asked for pre-approval for the VIC.
There is also $346,055 requested to complete project.
And that, says Elliott is it for now, though he cautions Council that there is a request from the contractor for an additional amount, which is still under discussion.
All the rest of the items, says Elliott, are all items that were approved in capital last year, and are currently underway, but not yet completed.
Sustainability Planning $18,370
IT Computers Phase 2: $129,900.
Phase 1 was to replace hardware; phase 2 is implementation of that. There was a high level of dissatisfaction with IT North, though they are working on fixing those issues. Hardware last year was $80,000.
I’m not much of a computer person, says the Mayor, but I’ve seen more computers not working here than not. Is this going to solve the issue, or no?
Elliott says the hardware will work, he’s not so convinced about everything else.
Clive says the network has gone sideways.
Mayor says his problem is why spend $130,000 on someone you’re going to replace.
Clive says he has some background as an IT manager, and it’s an ongoing process.
Mayor asks if they don’t approve this, and the District goes to an RFP, what happens.
Elliott says IT North is providing the hardware, and it should solve the issues. There was $164,000 spent in 2014 on networking, cabling, etc. There is a whole revamp of the IT system. It should have been done in bits over the last few years, but they are doing whole thing at once.
Passed. Krakowka and Howe opposed.
Water Regulation Bylaw $3500
Councillors Kirby, Krakowka and Scott recuse themselves. Councillor Howe does not, though he also owns a commercial property. However, if he had done so, there would no longer be quorum.
There were some contradictions in previous bylaw, says Beale. This is going to modernize the bylaw and make sure it is consistent.
Commercial Water Metering $80,000
Continuation of the work that started last year. All of it is from unappropriated 2014 surplus. We’re not charging anyone through the water meters currently. Only for commercial buildings.
Councillor Howe asks if water meters are on our own buildings? They are on the new VIC and RV park, says Klikach.
Howe asks what happens with new buildings? Beale says the town will supply the meters, but the builder is responsible for the install.
Elliott says the metering is more to get a sense of usage. There has been no direction from Council on charging for that.
Councillor Howe asks if we need to spend money on monitoring this if it isn’t going to be used to charge people?
Elliott says this is just following the will of Council.
Mayor asks if this wraps it up? Beale says this should finish up the current businesses.
Councillor Mackay points to town of Telkwa who did this and discovered they were losing much of their treated water to leaks.
Councillor Caisley says all these things were approved last year. What happens if we vote no? What are we losing?
Beale says if Council doesn’t approve this, the District has already purchased the meters and installed many of them. “If we stop the program, the business still gets their water. We haven’t changed our rates. For me having the data is a valuable tool. It costs us to produce water. It’s good to know where that water is being used.”
Councillor Howe says voting against this is not going to save us $80,000?
Beale says yes, it would because we still need to install, though it’s not necessarily the cost of installation. He says the average cost is $2500, and there’s about a dozen left to do, so the cost would probably be closer to $30,000.
The mayor asks if this is done by contractors? Yes, says Beale, it needs to be done by certified installers.
Councillor Howe asks if there any legal considerations if the District is putting water meters on certain businesses and not others?
Elliott says as long as they are not being used to set individual rates, no.
Councillor Mackay says one of the considerations was also bulk water sales.
Beale says the District sells water at $2.30/m3. However, we don’t have any way to monitor local bulk water usage.
Councillor Howe opposed. Others come back in.
Sewer Regulation Bylaw: $3,500.
Current bylaw is antiquated, says Beale. No amendments have been done to it. There are items in bylaw that have to be updated. It’s bylaw housekeeping.
Street Lamp Removal: $10,000
With addition of LED lighting downtown, cobra heads are left. Plan is to cut top off cobra heads, paint them and use them as banner poles and for hanging baskets.
Cemetery Expansion: $29,000
Project started in 2013. We are running low on capacity at cemetery. Need to design and plan for future.
Councillor Mackay asks if this is enough to complete everything.
Elliott says Urban Systems has two or three designs. Some of them have replaced fencing, one of them removes the fencing entirely. Plan will be coming back to Council.
Beale says these funds are to produce the plan. “This is engineering, the plan and cost to do the expansion. These costs are not to do the work of the actual expansion, but to provide us with a plan.”
Councillor Scott asks if the land has been determined.
Beale says the land is already set aside and designated as cemetery. “It’s within that plot of land. We are looking at a different access to enhance that access. At the end of the day, what we’ll get is a completed plan and an estimation on the cost to implement.”
Passed. Councillor Mackay opposed.
Analog Camera $3400
These cameras would be used to monitor the exterior of the Golf Course. Councillor Krakowka says that Mr Beale mentioned that there might be some rules around surveillance. “Are we going to get into trouble for this?”
Elliott says it will be posted. Passed.
Security Camera system $7500
This is also for the golf course, but for the inside of the clubhouse, says Klikach. “There was a lot of wiring put in, but it was disconnected and never used. It all has to be reconnected and a new PVR is needed.”