Long-overdue work to upgrade storm and sanitary sewer systems on Victoria Avenue will get underway this fall, following White Rock council approval of the $1 million-plus contract to do it.
The work, stretching between Balsam and Finlay streets, is to include removing and/or abandoning existing sewers and installing new service connections. Upgrades to the systems between Balsam and Fir streets are expected to go to tender next spring.
The work cannot wait, Rob Thompson, the city’s director of engineering and municipal operations said.
“That road has to start now,” he told Peace Arch News.
Last month, Thompson told council the need to replace the sanitary system is “urgent.” The first phase will also include upgrades to the system along Ash Street, to address a “long-term flooding situation” in advance of the rainy season, he said.
In approving the contract to Sandpiper Contracting LLP, council also OK’d a budget increase of $104,861 for the project, with the funding to come from the sanitary sewer capital reserve.
In response to a request from Mayor Catherine Ferguson regarding prioritizing infrastructure improvements, Thompson noted a consultant on the Victoria Avenue project told him the city’s investments in its sanitary system over the past 10 years “have put White Rock… well in advance of other municipalities.”
At the same time, the storm system needs a lot of work, he said.
“It’s always the orphan in the family,” he said.
Once the system upgrades are complete, work to improve the “pedestrian environment” will get underway.
That, too, is long overdue, Thompson said.
“Victoria Avenue has been an issue with the community since way before I started here. I would say 10 or 15 years,” he told PAN.
A Sept. 15 meeting with residents to discuss potential options for sidewalks, traffic calming, street lighting and repaving determined a solution that satisfies everyone will be challenging to find.
Thompson told council an option that would result in a curb-and-gutter design with a gravel shoulder “seemed to be well-received” by the crowd of approximately 40 attendees.
Victoria Avenue resident Lothar Kiner told PAN it’s high time the city put some money into the road.
“It’s a crappy street, there’s no question,” he said. “The parking is limited, it’s been dug up and repaved in spots… It should be rebuilt.”
Kiner noted the street doesn’t have enough pedestrian traffic to warrant a sidewalk.
The road improvements are expected to be complete by the end of next year.