Culvert upgrade approval now water under the bridge

Delegate lambasted city staff for its “incompetence"

City council gave the green light to the repair and maintenance of the Simms Creek culvert under Galerno Road but not before getting an earful from a former road construction supervisor.

Mike Gage kicked off Tuesday night’s council meeting and lambasted city staff for its “incompetence.”

Gage, who supervised road construction for 25 years, had his own thoughts on the Simms Creek culvert, which city staff say is deteriorating and needs replacing as soon as possible.

“In my opinion, the culvert over Simms Creek is not about to fail and collapse as some city staff have suggested,” Gage said. “I’ve dealt with similar projects many times. The integrity of the culvert is good and should last 25 years before being replaced, and then it should be replaced by an open bottom, gravel-lined arch type structure.”

Instead, Mayor Walter Jakeway said the city will put a liner inside the culvert and install grout at either end, in between the two pipes.

At Tuesday’s meeting, council awarded the project to McElhanney Consulting Services Ltd. at a price tag of $193,455 to come from the city’s Storm Water Parcel.

The culvert was not scheduled for repair until next year, but an evaluation in June by a city consultant determined the culvert has broken down to the point it can no longer carry the applied loads – vehicles, a water main, a gravity sanitary sewer, a concrete encased Telus duct bank and a natural gas main. Speed bumps, a concrete divider and a 30 kilometre per hour speed zone were installed in an attempt to slow down traffic and prevent further deterioration of the culvert.

Gage said those measures are ineffective and only serve to annoy motorists.

“The present concrete divider and speed bumps only serve to aggravate the users of Galerno road,” Gage said. “I would have thought speed bumps would be the last thing to be installed there, they should just leave it the way it is and rather than travel across that area if it so fragile, it (should not have vehicles on it period), not just slow down and have the impact of 35 to 40 tonne loads on it.”

Gage continued calling out city hall.

“There never was so little done, with so many staff,” Gage said. “And to council, you should been seen as being concerned about the expenditures that support your constituents and not so much in favour of any tenure for any incompetent staff.”

Later in the meeting, Coun. Claire Moglove took exception to Gage’s comments and his “denigration” of staff.

“For someone from the public to come to this meeting and call our staff incompetent is inappropriate,” Moglove said. “You might disagree with staff, I might disagree with staff, but to call them incompetent is totally inappropriate and I would hope that next time the chair (mayor) would say something.”