Aside from ‘desperate’ state of water and sewer infrastructure, city financial outlook looks good

City: Campbell River’s debt load is low

City council “desperately” needs to be put money aside to replace its aging water and sewer infrastructure.

That was the message delivered by Brad Piercy of MNP who presented his annual audit findings to council at its May 9 meeting.

Piercy said that much of the city’s infrastructure was initially installed in the ’50s and ’60s and in the coming years will need to be either replaced or upgraded.

“There’s a lot of dollars that desperately need to get earmarked for sewer and water infrastructure,” Piercy said. “It’s part of the picture of what’s happening in Campbell River.”

Piercy said on the bright side, the city’s financial outlook looks good. Campbell River’s debt load is low, with a long-term debt of $2.7 million as of Dec. 31, 2015 which is a decrease of $894,826 from last year.

“This amount of debt is very low overall, particularly for a community of our size,” said Dennis Brodie, the city’s finance operations supervisor. “While $15 million of long-term debt was authorized for water and sewer infrastructure in 2013 financial planning, much of this debt has yet to be drawn upon.”

Nearly three years ago, council approved borrowing $10.2 million for water projects and another $4.8 million for sewer infrastructure. Council secured public assent in 2013 to take on that debt through the alternative approval process which required voters not in agreement to sign an opposition form.

The funding is expected to help the city finance water main improvements, a water booster pump station, a chlorine facility upgrade and an expansion to the Beaver Lodge reservoir, among other projects. Tºhe city’s debt is low because those projects have largely yet to begin.

“The reason your debt is so low is because your assets are depreciated so much,” Piercy said. “You have low debt because the amortized assets are older assets.”

Mayor Andy Adams asked Piercy whether the city’s low debt puts the city in a good position to undertake necessary infrastructure improvements.

“We are certainly not alone in the situation of aging infrastructure that requires attention in the next 10, 15, and 20 years at most,” Adams said. “But the one thing I noticed…the continual reduction in our debt provides us a significant amount of opportunity to take on those projects compared to maybe other jurisdictions and local governments that aren’t in as favourable a position. Is that accurate?”

Piercy agreed that Adams was correct, but reiterated that the city’s debt is low because its assets are depreciating. Piercy also said that council may want to consider putting more money aside in its sewer and water reserves, which combined sit at $19 million.

“From a standard build out on any large water or sewer project…you’re just kind of scraping the barrel for what’s kind of needed in there,” Piercy said. “Going forward in the capital plan I’d want to be having more dollars in there.”

Adams said he’s hopeful help is on the way.

“Thank goodness the federal government is looking to do a 50 per cent instead of 33 per cent matching on those infrastructure projects.”



Just Posted

Family Literacy Week in Campbell River a chance to celebrate play

A few additions to the itinerary from previous years, week-long event ‘shaping up to be super great’

Vancouver Island amateur radio operators now better equipped to help in an emergency

More courses starting soon for those interested in helping SRD communicate after a major event

Campbell River-area First Nation chief steps down due to health

After serving five terms as Chief of the Wei Wai Kum Nation,… Continue reading

Report: City of Campbell River needs a maintenance plan for Nunns Creek Nature Trust

Extensive ecological inventory shows both the good and the bad of city-leased lands downtown

Campbell River Fire Department douses truck fire on Inland Island Highway

A driver pulled over when the engine in his truck started smoking… Continue reading

WATCH: Giant waves smash Ucluelet’s Amphitrite Point

Folks made their way to Ucluelet’s Amphitrite Point Lighthouse on Thursday, Jan.… Continue reading

Women’s movement has come a long way since march on Washington: Activists

Vancouver one of several cities hosting event on anniversary of historic Women’s March on Washington

Liberals’ 2-year infrastructure plan set to take 5: documents

Government says 793 projects totalling $1.8 billion in federal funds have been granted extensions

Workers shouldn’t be used as ‘pawns’ in minimum wage fight: Wynne

Comments from Kathleen Wynne after demonstrators rallied outside Tim Hortons locations across Canada

John ‘Chick’ Webster, believed to be oldest living former NHL player, dies

Webster died Thursday at his home in Mattawa, Ont., where he had resided since 1969

World’s fastest log car made in B.C. sells for $350,000 US

Cedar Rocket auctioned off three times at Barrett-Jackson Co., netting $350,000 US for veterans

Bad timing: Shutdown spoils Trump’s one-year festivities

Trump spends day trying to hash out a deal with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer

Woman in Nanaimo buys $70 worth of ice cream with allegedly stolen debit card

Purchase said to have occurred on Jan. 11 at 2 a.m. at Nicol General Store

RCMP nail alleged sex toy thief

Shop owner plays a role in arrest

Most Read