I am writing this in response to two letters to the editor that appeared in the May 16 Star regarding the proposed Kicking Horse River Dike Upgrade Project (Bridge to Bridge) that I believe misrepresent key aspects of the proposed project. While I think everyone will agree that local electors have the right to approve (or not) long term borrowing, these decisions should be based on accurate information.
Sue Ellen stated her opposition to the beautification component, but acknowledges the value of the flood protection part of the project stating, “..raising the height of the flood protection makes sense to me..”, but fails to identify the costs. The total cost of the beautification component of the project is about $725,000 of which $300,000 is from a Resort Municipality Program grant. The total project cost is estimated to be about $4.5 million (this includes a 35 percent contingency, or risk factor which may not be required), meaning that the actual impact to local taxpayers for the beautification part of the project is $430,000. This is less than 10 percent of the total project costs, with the remaining 90 percent going toward flood protection improvements.
In fact on Friday May 18 the Town distributed a 16 page project description information package that includes answers to all five of his questions (and a number of other frequently asked questions raised by the public over the last few weeks), and I personally emailed this document to Mr. Fairley on May 19. In his letter Mr. Fairley incorrectly stated that, “…$800,000 is not budget for dyke improvement but other amenities, such as buried power lines and pedestrian walkways.” In fact the cost of burying the power lines and other lines on the poles adjacent to the 330 meters of dyke is included in the eligible project costs (not the beatification component).
As stated in the Editor’s note at the end of Mr. Fairley’s letter 2/3rds of the cost of removing the unsightly poles and lines is covered by the federal/provincial grant, $100,000 comes from a BC Hydro grant, and $37,000 from a Telus grant.
Finally, the designs depicted in the information package, and other related documents are conceptual only. Detailed engineering will begin only after the alternate approval process, Town Council has determined how the project funds should be raised, and an environmental assessment for the project has been completed.
It is at that stage that the final design options will be considered, including when and how the beautification component of the project will be undertaken.
Chief Administrative Officer
Town of Golden