Editorial - Seriousness of infrastructure needs shown again

Infrastructure needs are not a new topic for this space, but it keeps popping up as a major elephant in the room when it comes to any sort of spending plan for the city.

Council should be used to their Administration reminding them that the spending at present on road and sidewalk replacement puts the entire system on a replacement schedule of somewhere around 150-years, give or take a generation of residents. It is not a pretty picture if you sit at the Council table and think about planning for the long term future.

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Then Monday night Trent Mandzuk – Director of Public Works with the City had more bad news for Council. He pointed out replacing sewer and storm sewer lines are on roughly a 1000-year schedule.

As Mandzuk pointed out it’s rather difficult to come up with anything manmade in our world that is still functioning as designed after 1,000 years.

Obviously, neither will the current sewer and storm lines under Yorkton streets, not that anyone in the city right now will be around to attest to how long the system hangs on before a complete collapse.

So the City had to do something to cut 1,000 years down to a number that Council and voters can at least get their heads around.

That will mean upping the annual investment in replacement significantly.

The work approved Monday on Roslyn Avenue and Bailey Drive Sanitary and Storm Sewer Replacements is only for 230-metres of pipe, out of a system that equates to roughly the same distance as Yorkton to Regina.

This project, small as it is in terms of the overall system and 1000-year timeline is still costing the city in excess of $600,000.

Do some math and there are massive costs facing our city, and others like Yorkton moving forward.

It helped a bit this year that the provincial government announced that the City of Yorkton would receive $2,348,953 to put towards capital projects from the Municipal Economic Enhancement Program (MEEP). But, that money disappeared rather quickly when the City looked into projects that needed doing.

The majority will go into a pavement replacement effort that shaves the pocked mark old asphalt off the top, then tops it off with new. It’s a band aid that does not address the road base, or underground infrastructure. Again the need far outstrips the MEEP money as welcome as it was from the province.

How we address the needs is a conversation that desperately needs to be had between the three levels of government, and local residents who are going to face some tough choices in how they want to pay the bill that must surely come.

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