By Cole Parkinson
A local lot owner is looking to add a water line tying into his property in the town of Vauxhall.
During council’s regular meeting on November 20, councillors had a chance to review what the request was and if it was a feasible ask.
“This goes back to the previous owner who had questioned it at the time. I mentioned it was a developer cost and if you want to put it in, it would be there cost to install it. The town putting in a water line to feed just one building, it isn’t going to make us any money so it is treated as a developer cost. My first estimate was $28,000 based on old information from previous documents so I mentioned it might be that much,” said CAO Cris Burns, though he later added a more recent quote listed the price near $45,000 for a six-inch water main tied at the intersection of 1 Ave South and 5 Street.
The original ask of the owner was for a two-inch pipe but administration recommended to go with a six-inch pipe as it would be more beneficial in the long run.
“In discussing with the public works foreman, he has the same opinion. You can’t shut it off if there is a failure. If something fails, you have to dig up the street and turn it all off. You need a proper street operating valve,” added Burns. “There will be a little interruption for properties south of there, pretty much everyone south of there. The only place that won’t be affected is the town shop, Rowland Seeds and the butcher shop. Everything else will be shut off to do that connection. That will have to be planned in advance.”
Another point brought up by Burns was around the fact the six-inch pipe is standard and would allow them to place a fire hydrant towards the end while a two-inch wouldn’t.
Council agreed with the administration and staff assessment that six-inch pipes would be the best way to approach the situation.
“I can’t see putting in a service we don’t have the maximum use of. Two-inch line for municipal purposes isn’t sufficient, not for fire protection or anything. I think it’s six-inch line or nothing,” said Ray Coad.
While there would be a cost savings on the lengths of two-inch pipes needed compared with going with six-inch, from the municipal view, it also leaves much to be desired in regard to services it will be able to offer to other properties in the area.
Even with those savings, construction costs to place the pipe would roughly be the same whichever size of pipe they were using.
“When you are dealing with a pipe that small, the price difference in purchasing the pipe between two and six inches, I’m just guessing, but it is probably no more than $10. You are talking about maybe a couple thousand dollars in savings. Whether you put in two or six-inch, installation costs are going to be the same. I don’t see any reason to go that small,” explained Deputy Mayor Richard Phillips.
A suggestion made by council revolved around the town footing the bill and gaining the money back further on when more developments come.
“There are benefits for adjacent properties with a six-inch line and to the town. I’m wondering if the town shouldn’t pay for those benefits and collect them as a latecomer charge to the properties that aren’t being developed at this time,” said Coad. “That would actually be a financial benefit (for the owner) because his costs, like Richard said, the cost of a two-inch line is peanuts compared to the total capital cost of this project.”
Council also suggested having the water line would be an added bonus for any other potential buyers looking to develop in the area.
“It allows for future development and with a water line, that is the bottom line. It is an asset that you have in place,” said Phillips. “If the town were to pay the cost of purchasing the larger pipe, we could then have future development there and recover the cost when future development happens.”
Coad also wondered if the two sides could come together but instead of the town fronting the bill, the owner would.
“Can we enter into an agreement with (the owner) that he pays the full cost and we reimburse him as development takes place?” he asked.
A motion was made to enter into an agreement with the owner to provide services at his expense with a six-inch pipe and to be reimbursed from future development as per frontage and was passed unanimously by council.