Flooding costs adding up for town

September 29, 2014 7:50 am
Kevin Weedmark

Mother Nature has been been heaping the extra costs on the town of Moosomin over the last year.

With a cold winter causing frozen water lines requiring many more digs than usual, followed by three incidences of flooding over the summer months, the town has had lots of extra costs.

The town doesn’t have a final tally of what its costs will be, as its regular insurance through SGI will cover some of the flooding damage to town-owned facilities, and the town is hoping the Provincial Disaster Assistance Program will cover some of the remaining costs, including repairs to sewers that shift.

Insurance should cover most of the costs at town facilities. At the pool alone, costs include $95,000 to replace a pool liner damaged by groundwater pressure, $7,000 for a circulating pump, $20,000 to replace the boiler, $22,000 to replace filters, $12,000 for the water slide pump, and $5,000 in other damage.

The town went over budget on paving this year because of extensive patching that had to be done to repair last winter’s water breaks. The town budgeted $510,000 for paving this year and the final bill came in at $534,124.

The town spent at least $30,000 in rentals of pumps and other equipment to deal with flooding.

There are also overtime costs as a result of town employees putting in long hours day after day to deal with the flooding.

“With all the problems we had all winter and the three floods, I would hope that’s a one-in-100 year event,” Mayor Larry Tomlinson said Friday. “There has never been a year like this with so many unexpected costs —17 water breaks, frozen water services, and three floods.

“We’re going to have to really watch our costs for the rest of this year. Some things that can be put off until next year will be put off. There are a couple of roads we were going to build, but we will put that off until spring now, and use that money for more urgent priorities.”

As well, town council discussed delaying installation of streetlights on Park Avenue and the East Access Road at Wednesday’s meeting. The town had budgeted $30,000 for the work but the quote came in at $36,000.

The town has looked into ways to prevent flood waters from coming across Cook Road.

“The engineers have given us some idea what they think happened, and we will go out and take a deeper look into it so we can come up with a plan,” Tomlinson said.

“I think it was a combination of things that led to the water coming over Cook Road, but there was a slough there that acted as a buffer. I think we need some kind of buffer to catch it before it hits Cook Road.”

With the cost of flood repairs and remediation efforts, the town may have to look at bringing in more revenue next year.

“I think we are going to have to look at raising taxes,” Tomlinson said.
“We have to look at putting more into our infrastructure. A lot of our sewer and water lines were put in back in the 1950s.

“We will put a plan in place to replace those over a number of years, and look at other solutions where they make sense.

“On Ellice Street we want to put a liner inside the sewer pipe so we don’t have to dig up the whole street. We hope to do that this fall.”

RCMP, council discuss enforcement
Sgt. Joe Telus of the Moosomin RCMP attended the Sept. 24 council meeting to discuss policing in town.

At the previous meeting, council had discussed policing in light of a letter suggesting stronger enforcement of bylaws such as that prohibiting parking on the streets for more than 24 hours.

Telus pointed out at the meeting Wednesday that the town has the authority to enforce bylaws without the RCMP’s involvement.

He told council members that police are busy enforcing traffic laws such as seatbelt and speeding laws, and other laws in town, but have not put a focus on town bylaws.

“So far this year, just in town we have issued 84 tickets for various offences,” said Telus. “That’s not counting impaired drivers, not counting assaults, thefts, etc. Numbers don’t lie.”

While the town pays for three members, all members of the detachment share call, and calls are responded to as they come in, said Telus.

“We all take calls,” he said. “Everyone can deal with any call.”

He reiterated that the town can issue tickets for bylaw offences such as parking on the street for extended periods without involving the police.

“It’s within your authority to enforce the bylaws,” he said. “Having said that, if it’s something that’s urgent, whether a bylaw or not, we will enforce it.”

The town has purchased an electronic speed sign to show drivers what speed they are driving. The town will co-ordinate placement of the sign with the RCMP.

Intersection safety discussed
Council discussed safety at the intersection of Park Avenue and the East Access Road at Wednesday’s meeting.

The issue had come up at a previous meeting, and council decided to ask the paving crew in town at the time if they could add rumble strips along Park Avenue to alert them to the intersection.

The pavers did not have the equipment necessary to build the rumble strips, so that has not been done.

Council discussed other ways to make the stop sign facing Lake Avenue more visible to drivers, including placing a red flashing beacon at the top of the stop sign.

“That stop sign should be closer to the road and it should be bigger,”
Councillor Chris Davison said. He pointed out that a Service Road sign also blocks the view of drivers at the corner.

The town will investigate options for clearer signage at the corner, and is also looking into different options for rumble strips.