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New bylaw created by Powell River city council for wastewater borrowing

Financing reviewed; councillors pass motions for continued construction of treatment facility
BORROWING DELIBERATIONS: City of Powell River councillors made some housekeeping motions to keep the consolidated wastewater treatment plant project on track.

City of Powell River has created a new bylaw to provide for the borrowing of another $5 million for the consolidated wastewater treatment plant.

At the June 2 city council meeting, councillors voted on three recommendations for the long-term borrowing authorization.

Council first voted to rescind a previous motion that had been passed for the borrowing of the money. Councillor George Doubt said this was being done so the city can replace the first authorization with one that meets the needs of the provincial government.

Council then passed a motion to approve borrowing from the Municipal Finance Authority as part of its fall 2022 borrowing session in the amount of $5 million for borrowing of funds to construct the plant. The city also requested consent from qathet Regional District for borrowing these funds over a 30-year term.

Doubt said this is simply renewing in the proper way the request to withdraw $5 million of the previously approved fund for the plant.

The final recommendation was that the liquid waste treatment plant temporary borrowing bylaw be given its first three readings.

Doubt said this bylaw would increase the overall borrowing for the plant from $27.3 to $30.7 million.

Mayor Dave Formosa said he was thankful and confident that the wastewater facility will be built within the ability of the city, that it has authorization to do so, and within the funds available.

“Given the issues of COVID-19 – anyone who is building today will know that the cost of materials have gone absolutely sky-high,” said Formosa. “As a matter of fact, if you want to build a new home today, a lot of contractors won’t even give you a price, because they just don’t know. It’s just out of control. You don’t know one day to the next.

“I want to refer to our friends across the water in Tofino. When their bid came in it was almost double and they did not get to build their wastewater treatment facility. They are relooking at what they are doing.”

Formosa said the city is fortunate that staff pre-purchased major components ahead of time, which saved the city from significant cost increases.

“The major components were pre-purchased and so I really want to take my hat off to the staff of this city,” said Formosa. “As we are bumping up to the number, I just want to assure the public that yes, it’s costing more money, but it’s manageable, and we’re fortunate.”

Formosa said the city also wants to take its hat off to Graham Infrastructure, the contractor.

“They are doing a fabulous job,” added Formosa.

Council voted for the third recommendation.