Engineers recently have assessed Princeton’s infrastructure and made numerous recommendations, finding water and sewer services lacking and in some cases dangerous. File photo

Engineers recently have assessed Princeton’s infrastructure and made numerous recommendations, finding water and sewer services lacking and in some cases dangerous. File photo

Princeton proposes to take on $7M in debt to fix crumbling infrastructure

The loan would result in up to a $197 annual parcel tax on each property to service and pay down the debt, for the next 30 years

The Town of Princeton is proposing a $7 million solution to its urgent infrastructure woes.

At its regular meeting Tuesday, April 9, council put in motion a process to borrow the funds to repair and expand its water and sewer systems.

If eventually approved, the loan would result in up to a $197 annual parcel tax on each property to service and pay down the debt, for the next 30 years.

“It’s something we desperately need to address,” said Princeton Mayor Spencer Coyne.

Engineers recently have assessed Princeton’s infrastructure and made numerous recommendations, finding water and sewer services lacking and in some cases dangerous.

“It’s a big number,” said Lyle Thomas, Princeton CAO. “We are getting to the point that we can’t let it slide any longer. What we are proposing is we borrow to get these projects done.”

The mayor noted reports dating back at least ten years identified some of the same issues but stated that information was lost or miscommunicated.

Related:

Princeton is leaking – and it’s a serious issue

According to engineers, six projects need to be undertaken.

The most costly is a full replacement of the sewer trunk main from Tulameen Avenue and Allin Street, through to Fenchurch Avenue and Lime Street. The estimated cost is $4.28 million. This will address deficiencies in the line and include a new river crossing at Angela Avenue. It will secure service and allow for new development, states the report.

Upgrades to the Fenchurch Lift Station are recommended as the first job to be undertaken. Thomas told council that in the past, during freshnet, that station has needed to be supported by trucks removing effluent and driving it straight to sewer lagoons.

“It’s right by the river. It would spill out,” said Thomas.

Related:

Princeton has more plumbing woes

Princeton is presently one of only a dozen of communities in the province that carries no debt and paid its last loan in the mid-1970s.

“Taking on debt is a big decision to make,” said Coyne, in an interview following the meeting. “At some point, we have to stop talking about things and we have to start doing them. It’s time to stop talking. It’s time for action and it’s time we were responsible and see that things get done.”

The municipality is presently waiting on approval of an $880,000 provincial infrastructure grant and will continue to apply for assistance.

If approved, funds would be borrowed over time, as needed, to complete the planned projects which also include digging the fourth well for consumer water consumption and fire protection, replacing the Billiter Warren Booster Station and replacing a 4” sewer pipe in North Princeton.

“The booster station has fallen into disrepair. It’s actually become a safety hazard to work in and we know it’s not working as it should,” stated Thomas.

According to Coyne, if the loan goes ahead, it will also allow Princeton to position itself for development.

An engineer’s report indicates, for example, that Princeton’s water system can only support an estimated further 118 residential units.

Communities borrow money from the Municipal Finance Authority, where the interest rate is currently 2.29%. On a $7 million loan, the annual debt servicing payment would amount to $336,910 annually.

The borrowing process is expected to take at least a year. Permission must be granted by the Inspector of Municipalities, and the matter would then be put to the electorate through the Alternative Approval Process. The Regional District must also give its approval.

To underline the importance of infrastructure repairs Coyne recalled an incident in 1996 when a sewer pipe broke and compromised a well.

“That’s the scariest thing I ever lived through,” he said. “People were sick with e-coli and (other) bacteria. It was horrible.”

The proposal appears to have the full support of council members.

During the meeting Councillor Randy McLean, who has served four terms as mayor, said he’s convinced town services are at capacity.

“I was mayor in the past when we bypassed opportunities because we didn’t want to go into debt. I have always been proud of the fact that we had no loans, but I’m at the point that I am restructuring that thinking.”

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:andrea.demeer@similkameenspotlight.com


 
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A Keremeos family lost their home after a fire shortly before midnight on April 13. No injuries were reported. (Contributed)
Keremeos home destroyed in late-night fire

The family inside was unharmed

An Interior Health nurse administers Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines to seniors and care aids in Kelowna on Tuesday, March 16, 2021. (Phil McLachlan/Kelowna Capital News)
105 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health

Just over 8,000 new vaccine doses administered in the region for a total of 158,000 to date

Campfires are allowed within the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen, but open burning season comes to an end April 15 at midnight. (Black Press file photo)
Open burning season ends in Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen

Campfires are permitted, following provincial guidelines

Send your letter to the editor via email to news@summerlandreview.com. Please included your first and last name, address, and phone number.
LETTER: Name is spelled incorrectly

For 100 years, the Garnett name has been spelled incorrectly as Garnet

Send your letter to the editor via email to news@summerlandreview.com. Please included your first and last name, address, and phone number.
LETTER: Development will start disintegration of Summerland

I am in favour of affordable housing but voting for a rezoning does not address this serious issue

Arlene Howe holds up a picture of her son, Steven, at a memorial event for drug overdose victims and their families at Kelowna’s Rotary Beach Park on April 14. Steven died of an overdose at the age of 32 on Jan. 31, 2015. (Aaron Hemens - Kelowna Capital News)
Moms Stop the Harm members placed crosses Wednesday morning, April 14, on Rotary Beach in memory of children lost to drug overdoses. (Aaron Hemens - Capital News)
Kelowna mothers remember children lost to the opioid crisis

It has been five years since illicit drug deaths was announced a public health emergency

Demonstrators at the legislature on April 14 called on the province to decriminalize drug possession and provide widespread access to regulated safe supply across B.C. (Jake Romphf/News Staff)
Rally calls for decriminalization, safe supply on 5th anniversary of overdose emergency declaration

From 2016 to the end of February, 7,072 British Columbians died due to overdose

Naloxone
Op/Ed: Interior Health CEO speaks on five years of strides and challenges in overdose crisis

In 2020, close to 4,000 people across IH had access to opioid medications

Somewhere in the pack being celebrated by his teammates is Vernon Vipers forward Zack Tonelli, who scored in overtime Wednesday afternoon, April 14, to give the Snakes a 6-5 win over the Salmon Arm Silverbacks in B.C. Hockey League pod play at Kal Tire Place. (Liza Mazurek - Vernon Vipers Photography)
Vernon Vipers bite Salmon Arm Silverbacks in OT

Snakes blow 5-3 third-period lead, rally in extra time for 6-5 pod play result over rivals

(Government of Canada)
Liberal MP caught stark naked during House of Commons video conference

William Amos, in Quebec, appeared on the screens of his fellow members of Parliament completely naked

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, Feb. 1, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count jumps to 1,168 Wednesday, nearly 400 in hospital

Now 120 coronavirus patients in intensive care, six more deaths

Moss covered branches are seen in the Avatar Old Growth Forest near Port Renfrew on Vancouver Island, B.C. Thursday, Sept. 29, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. blockades aimed at protecting old-growth forests reveal First Nation split

Two Pacheedaht chiefs say they’re ‘concerned about the increasing polarization over forestry activities’ in the territory

Okanagan Falls Volunteer Fire Department, photo from Okanagan Falls Volunteer Fire Department Facebook page
The Okanagan Falls Volunteer Fire Department. (Facebook)
South Okanagan fire crews battle two blazes one-after-another

The two fires were likely caused by discarded cigarettes according to the fire department

Richmond RCMP Chief Superintendent Will Ng said, in March, the force received a stand-out number of seven reports of incidents that appeared to have “racial undertones.” (Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
‘Racially motivated’ incidents on the rise in B.C’s 4th largest city: police

Three incidents in Richmond are currently being invested as hate crimes, says RCMP Chief Superintendent Will Ng

Most Read