Following my letter to the Golden Star, Keith Hern and I met at the Farmers Market Wednesday evening to discuss it.
Below is a summary of our conversation identifying where we are in agreement and where our views differ on B2B.
First Keith and I talked about the dredging vs. dike raising question. Keith indicated that the Say NO to B2B group understand that this is not a one or the other question.
We both accept that ongoing dredging will be required even if the dike is raised.
I think it makes sense to raise the dike to at least the minimum of 0.6m above 200 year high water level recommneded by the Province.
The Say NO to B2B group are not opposed to raising the dike, however they want to see more analysis before accepting this proposal.
This was not something I, and others, have understood from their materials which I pointed out to Keith.
The Say No group also accept that the gravel cannot now be sold as it was in the past.
However, as Keith has pointed out the gravel can be stockpiled and used by the Town which produces significant budget savings.
Where Keith and I disagree is on next steps for the dike raising project.
I support the long term borrowing resolution as a way of getting the project moving while the current grant funds are available with the hope that the value engineering team can realise significant improvements to the proposed budget.
I am concerned that a NO vote will stall this process.
Keith and the Say NO group are concerned that the Town cannot afford this project at this time, that a complete list of priority projects does not yet exist, and that a YES vote will result in the proposed budget and solution becoming a foregone conclusion and that the value engineering team will not be robust enough to achieve real cost savings.
The Say NO group also believe that a properly constructed plan which includes bar scalping and gravel removal and dyke improvement could be negotiated under the existing grant. I think this is unlikely.
Keith and I are in very strong agreement on the following items:
1. Hydrological Modelling
More hydrological modelling is required to quantify the likely extent of flooding, potential impact and remediation costs.
Given the current construction of the dike it is highly unlikely that it will fail catastrophically and therefore the risk is of the river over topping the dike during high water events.
How long is this likely to occur for?
What depth of flood water would this result in across what area? This would be relatively simple to model using a number of scenarios and to our knowledge has not been done.
2. Value Engineering Team
That the value engineering team needs to be independent of Urban Systems.
As the proposer of the dike upgrade project solution and the fact that their fee is a percentage of total project cost Urban Systems are conflicted and not incentivised to look at more cost effective solutions.
They will also act as judge and jury on alternate solutions.
Council needs to take a leadership role in the composition and terms of reference for this team.
The currently proposed value engineering team structure is not adequate and risks being a rubber stamping organisation for the current proposal.
3. Asset Management Plan
That the work the Town is conducting on its asset management plan must be completed as soon as possible so that priorities can be established and overall long term funding requirements can be identified.
4. Flood Management Working Group
That a Flood Management Working Group (similar to the Air Quality Committee) needs to be established with a long term focus on both dike levels and gravel management, through dredging, to develop a holistic approach.