Residents along 54 Ave. will see the years long project come to a completion this summer when the final portion is paved. File photo

Town set to pave remainder of 54 Ave.

Bashaw council to find the money through 2020 budget talks

The town is moving forward with a pair of capital expenditures, though a decision on where the money will come from has not been made.

At its council meeting on Jan. 15, the go-ahead was given to pave the western most section of 54 Ave. along with having a pair of new streetlights installed along 52 St.

The new pavement will extend from 52 to 54 Street and will finish off the 54 Ave. upgrading project.

Work began in 2017 with replacement of the water and sewer infrastructure as well as road upgrades on two blocks, followed by phase two in 2019 that saw water and sewer work on the next two blocks with the paving slated to be done this year.

CAO Theresa Fuller outlined that engineering costs for the paving are estimated at about $25,000, while the hope is that putting out the tender early will provide some aggressive pricing from the contractors bidding on the project.

“Our engineer has recommended getting the tender out as soon as we can, as typically projects receive better pricing as contractors don’t know how many tenders are going to be sent out,” said Fuller.

“Whereas the closer it gets to construction season, the bids tend to get bumped up a bit with the prices and contractors can decide to choose what they want to bid on.”

Coun. Lynn Schultz questioned whether the paving would be paid for through either the Municipal Sustainability Initiative (MSI) or the Federal Gas Tax (FGT) funding the town receives.

Fuller explained those funds from 2020 were already used to pay for phase two and that the paving isn’t an eligible project under the FGT.

“The initial discussion last year was to use those funds for the project and either access reserves or delay the paving until 2021 in order to access the MSI funds,” she added.

Reserves that could be used to pay for the paving are presently sitting at around $307,000.

“We have the funds in reserve if council chooses to proceed,” Fuller stated, answering Schultz’s question about whether there is money available. She did caution there is an extensive list of proposed capital project coming when the budget discussions begin.

In spite of that, council was adamant about moving forward with the paving.

“I want to see it done,” said Schultz, “It would be a mistake not to.”

Coun. Rob McDonald agreed, adding, “It will just be more and more expensive to do it if we wait.”

Mayor Penny Shantz and Couns. Rosella Peterman and Darren Pearson agreed with that, with Pearson noting the project may come in cheaper than they figure given the present state of the economy.

Schultz’s motion to proceed with the project this year and approve the engineering fees and sending out the tender passed unanimously.

Meanwhile, administration was directed to confirm how to fund the project once the tenders have been looked at and final approval comes back before council.

Lights needed

As for the streetlights, council had asked late last year for information on cost and whether it was feasible to get better lighting along the street near the school as well as an area a couple of blocks north.

A quote for the work was received from Fortis Alberta, the company that services Bashaw, for just over $2,200.

The work includes installing one new light pole and fixtures to be put on an existing pole. The overall cost is nearly $8,200 with Fortis absorbing the balance.

Fuller added that the new pole was necessary as all of the existing poles in that location could not have a light as there was no room left.

The quote is good for 60 days, a timeline council feels it can meet as it works to find the funds through its 2020 budget discussions.

Fuller did state that, even with the new lights, the town still falls below the streetlight standard recommended for appropriate lighting.

“In the best interest of safety and deterring crime, you could argue it’s a bit of an extra tax burden, but if there is additional lighting does it make the public more safe?” she said.

Coun. Rob McDonald came up with the “bright idea” for the lights and was willing to let it go. However, council ended up directing administration to work the expense into the 2020 budget and let Fortis know as the quote expires in 60 days.

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