Burns Lake council and village staff discussed the village’s paving plans last week during the first budget meeting of 2017.
According to the village’s plan, the next street section in line to be paved would be Fourth Avenue – from Centre Street to Kinette Park.
However, Burns Lake’s director of public works Dale Ross suggested that a decision be made only after the spring thaw.
“I would request to reassess after the spring thaw to see what is the best location for pavement at that time because I think [the conditions of] streets change all the time, and there might be a worse section within the town that needs more attention,” he said.
Councillor Susan Schienbein said she agreed with that suggestion.
“I was really happy to hear you say that you would like to wait until spring to do an assessment,” she said. “I have shared this paving plan with quite a few people and a lot of people were a little surprised with [the suggestion of paving] Centre [Street] to [Kinette] Park, because even though it might be in worse shape, it’s a dead end street; it’s not one of our avenues that funnels people off to other streets.”
“I think it’s a good idea to reassess that based on where the biggest amount of traffic is,” she added.
According to a motion passed by council on Feb. 2, 2016, after the Fourth Avenue section – from Centre Street to Kinette Park -, the next priority areas are: Fifth Avenue – from Hwy. 16 to Centre Street; Fifth Avenue – from Aspen Street to the village’s boundary; Government Street – from Fifth Avenue to Third Avenue; Government Street – from Third Avenue to Canada Post; Third Avenue – from Carroll Street to Kerr Street; Third Avenue – from Centre Street to Carroll Street; Pioneer Way – from Francois Drive to Hwy. 35; and Pioneer Way – from Hwy. 35 to Bennett Drive.
Last year, the Fourth Avenue section from Carroll Street to Kerr Street was chosen to be repaved.
In order to complete these paving projects, staff has been directed to allocate $160,000 a year – $134,000 from gas tax and $26,000 from general revenue.
Is the Eighth Avenue repaving project still happening?
According to the village’s 2017 provisional budget, the Eighth Avenue/Centre Street repaving project is still in the village’s five-year capital plan.
The project would involve the full replacement of Eighth Avenue and a portion of Centre Street, including curbs, sidewalks, water and sewer.
In 2015, the municipality applied for a grant to undertake phase one of the proposed project. However, the grant application was not forthcoming. Village staff said last week that the project remains a priority.
“If grant opportunities come up, staff is ready to jump on them,” said the village’s director of finance Bernice Crossman. “We have all our systems in place and it would be lovely if we can get that moving,”
The project would begin with the pavement of the bottom section of Eighth Avenue – from Babine Road to Centre Street -, as well as of Centre Street – from Eighth Avenue to Tenth Avenue -, at a cost of approximately $3 million. The second phase would include the pavement of the top section of Eighth Avenue – from Centre Street to Shelford Street – at a cost of approximately $4 million.
The third phase would see the full replacement of Centre Street – from Fifth Avenue to Second Avenue – at a cost of $1.3 million. And the fourth phase of the project would see the full replacement of Centre Street – from Second Avenue to Hwy. 16 – at a cost of approximately $1.3 million.
During a council meeting in August 2015, council asked staff to look into borrowing options to fund the Eighth Avenue/Centre Street repaving project in case the grant was not forthcoming. This decision was reconsidered in a later meeting as it would involve a substantial increase in taxes and would reduce the village’s borrowing capacity for up to 25 years.
Repair work on Eighth Avenue and Centre Street will continue while a grant is not forthcoming.