Filling in the cracks on Eighth Avenue

Plans scaled back after grant application rejected

Its surface is rutted and cracked, but an overhaul of Eighth Avenue is being put on hold after a $2.7 million grant application for Burns Lake was rejected once again by the Union of B.C. Municipalities (UBCM).

The Village of Burns Lake has scaled back its ambitious plans for a complete rebuild of Eighth Avenue and is now considering a modest resurfacing of the two-block stretch between Centre Street and Babine Lake Road.

That option would have an estimated $360,000 price tag.

The village has an annual road-resurfacing budget of $160,000, which is funded with the village’s proceeds from the so-called Community Works Fund of the Federal Gas Tax, a levy charged on every litre of fuel at the pump.

The other $212,000 would come from the village’s capital reserve account, according to the mayor’s office.

Grant rejected again

The village had applied for a grant worth $2.7 million from the Strategic Priorities Fund — money which also comes from the federal gas tax — for a complete rebuild of Eighth Avenue, including the replacement of water and sewer lines.

But that grant application failed — the second consecutive denial of funding for the project. The initiative first got the thumbs-down in 2016.

The fund is administered by the Union of B.C. Municipalities, an umbrella organization meant to advocate for local governments.

Soft spots

The village is currently working out the cost of the two-block repaving project with LB Paving, according to a staff report to village council.

The Smithers-based company is slated to visit the site next month — once the frost is out of the ground and the winter sand has been cleared up — to firm up its estimate.

The work would involve digging up soft areas in the road — places where the underlying structure of the road has grown deficient — and replacing the gravel.

The surface of the road would then be smoothed with a layer of asphalt, and cracks would be reinforced with fiberglass mesh, and the whole surface would be repaved, according to the office of Mayor Chris Beach.

Complete dig-out

Another option described in the report – a “complete dig-out” — would replace the whole base of the road along the two-block stretch, and also extend the surface for a paved sidewalk. That more ambitious project would be much more expensive – about $600,000, according to the report.

But it wouldn’t involve any replacement of the pipes or sewage lines, and LB Paving has indicated that the base of the road “is not necessarily compromised,” according to the report.

Asked to comment about the condition of Eighth Avenue, the mayor said that the majority of the road is structurally sound.

“A full dig-out and reconstruction of the entire road is not required,” said Beach in an email to the Lakes District News. “Localized base repairs combined with a complete overlay of new asphalt will return Eighth Avenue to a state that will last for many years.”

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