• The fence running up Second Avenue West is cleared for replacement, with council agreeing in a split vote to fund the almost $169,000 project.
The fence is equal parts ornamental and safety device, the city’s acting director of Public Works Scott Golding said.
“The intention of the fence is to prevent jaywalking across a busy and dangerous section of street,” he explained of the fence, which runs up the Second Avenue West hill.
Since it was installed in 1990, it has become severely rusted and is in danger of falling down, a report by the city’s manager of capital projects Wes Hicks reads.
“I went to look at the fence close up, and I’m not necessarily reassured that the whole thing needs to be replaced,” Coun Lee Atkinson countered.
“The integrity still seems to be there. Some sandblasting and some sort of coating would probably preserve it for another number of years, so I can’t support replacing it entirely.”
Coun. Charlene Miller joined Atkinson in voting against the motion to spend almost $169,000 on the project — about $45,000 more than what was budgeted, due to higher than anticipated tender results.
“It’s my understanding that this fence is in much more dire of need than just a paint job,” Coun. Ted Zurakowski said.
“I’m not very interested in having a piecemeal approach to that fence and that meridian. As the main artery to our city I think it should be a good looking fence.”
As per Coun. Greg Dionne’s recommendation, the city’s director of Community Services Greg Zeeben agreed that greater attention will be paid toward weed control in the area that runs alongside the fence.
Future years will see city administration propose extending the fence and meridian further south and north, Golding said, noting that dangerous jaywalking is observed there, as well.
• An intersection whitetopping program now has its funding in place, with $516,550 of the project to be funded through the city’s future infrastructure reserve.
“It’s kind of like we’re doing something retroactively,” Atkinson said, noting that work began at the intersection of Sixth Avenue East and 15th Street prior to council setting the funding in place.
“Relative to prior whitetopping initiatives, maybe we should make sure the funding is there before we start the projects.”
“We approved the money several weeks ago, so we are doing exactly as we’re supposed to,” Cotterill countered, to Atkinson’s disagreement.
Although work at three intersections along 15th Street is set to take place this year, it won’t all be completed.
“We have utility work underneath some of those areas that has to be scheduled over the next couple years, but we are doing what we can,” Cotterill explained.
Other intersections covered by this year’s whitetopping program include the 2nd Avenue West and Central Avenue intersections with 15th Street.
The city’s future infrastructure reserve is funded through a base tax of $60 per residential property and varying rates for commercial properties.
During the past two years, the reserve has accumulated $1.2 million, of which this year’s whitetopping program will eat up $516,550, a retaining wall at Second Avenue West will eat up $60,000, and a Central Avenue viaduct concrete patching project will cost $140,000.
This leaves a remaining fund of $523,450 in reserves for future infrastructure needs.
With $620,000 collected annually, city administration plans to recommend the expenditure of an additional $550,000 from the reserve for next year’s whitetopping program. The details will be shared prior to the project’s implementation.
• The Diefenbaker bridge speed limit will remain at 40 kilometres per hour, city manager Robert Cotterill said.
The item came up for discussion after Coun. Cheryl Ring made an inquiry as to whether speed limit enforcement was still taking place on the bridge.
“Is enforcement going on? If not, why keep the speed limit at 40?” she asked.
“Enforcement is happening. I did actually see a ticket being given out when I was going over the bridge,” Cotterill replied.
“It’s not as much for the cars. It’s for the trucks, because a large weighted truck, as it passes over the bridge, creates a wave, and that wave is the concern that we have in the structural capacity of the bridge.”
Cotterill said that he’s sent a letter to trucking companies and associations requesting they ensure their employees are aware of the problem with trucks speeding across the bridge.
“We’ve noticed that the trucking has been more compliant than the residential.”
In other Diefenbaker bridge-related news, Cotterill said that the current plan is to have the bridge open to all four lanes throughout the September long weekend.
More items from Monday’s regular meeting of council will be written about in future editions of the Daily Herald, this week.