Burns Lake budget continues

Downtown revite continues; Government St. bridge to be replaced.

Major projects in Burns Lake will see a bit of a slowdown this year after last year’s hectic pace of construction with starts on phase one of downtown revitalization, the new Lakes District Hospital, the multi-use facility expansion at the Tom Forsyth Arena, the construction of the new Lakes District Maintenance yard and buildings, and major renovations at the BC Hydro offices and station.

The 2014 provisional budget makes allowances for two large projects, the replacement of the Government St. bridge behind the College of New Caledonia, and phase two downtown revitalization work to the former Shell station grounds.

Although an environmental remediation certificate is not yet on hand that will clear the way for the village to begin work at the old gas station site, it is expected soon.

The replacement of the Government St. bridge are budgeted at $215,000, while work to the former Shell property is budgeted at $145,550. Both budgeted figures were arrived at assuming the most expensive scenarios to avoid budget surprises, and public works hopes actual costs can be kept lower.

The installation of a water system backup generator is also planned, at a budgeted cost of $40,000, as well as a $60,000 upgrade to the sewage lagoon.

Major work is planned for Eighth and Centre streets once heavy construction traffic is no longer an issue at the new hospital build, but that’s booked for 2015. Approximately $2.8 million is worked into the five-year budget forecast for 2015 work on the two streets.

Major work is required to bring Centre and Eighth up to a standard where the roads can be expected to last. The $2.8 million would include removing not only the existing road surface, but digging down and building a new road bed that allows for proper drainage, and then repaving. Centre and Eighth will then have cement curbs to handle water run-off, a sidewalk on at least one side of the road, and a solid roadbed maximizing the life of a newly paved surface.

Large portions of projected 2014 work will be covered by grant funding. Regarding the Government St. bridge, $215,000 is expected to come from the Building Canada Fund. Grant funding of $95,550 is already confirmed for phase two revitalization work to the old Shell station, and a further $50,000 in funding may come from the Nechako Kitamaat Development Fund and Northern Development Initiative Trust.

Burns Lake protective services will finally get a new pick-up (budgeted at $45,000) to replace its aging 2003 Ford. Village recreation will purchase the old fire chief’s truck at $5000 for use in decidedly less urgent contexts.

A new $20,000 annual fire protection agreement with Babine Forest Products and Pinnacle Pellet was negotiated by VBL director of protective services Jim McBride.