Red Deer city council questioned on Monday whether a local improvement project to address stormwater drainage problems would end up setting a precedent within future annexation areas.
City council approved to have staff prepare a local improvement plan for 78th Street Crescent involving a handful of owners within Riverside industrial area. Council was split over a 50 per cent cost sharing agreement between the owners and the city.
In the end, it approved a 25 per cent cost-sharing agreement where the majority of the cost would be paid by the owners. The project cost is estimated at $330,000.
Four owners had asked for improvements because they were having drainage issues, which could ultimately have an impact on the Red Deer River. One property would see spring flooding coming from a property located higher.
Councillors Lynne Mulder, Chris Stephan, Buck Buchanan, Cindy Jefferies and Frank Wong voted against the 50 per cent cost-sharing.
Mulder said she was concerned about precedent setting when the city annexes land from Red Deer County, which has different building standards.
“We still have all this land we have to annex and there’s going to be similar situations probably,” said Mulder later. “We might be paying 50 per cent for all of these developments as they come by.”
Mulder said she believes that the city built this land in Riverside according to the standards of the time.
“The only reason I voted for the 25 per cent is because I believe we have an obligation to our environment,” she said.
Mayor Morris Flewwelling and Councillors Tara Veer, Dianne Wyntjes and Paul Harris had voted for the 50 per cent cost sharing agreement.
The project would see surface runoff water directed to a pipe system and then to the river.
Veer said there is private and public benefit to come out of this project.
The city had negotiated on a 50-50 cost sharing with the owners, Veer added.
“This area has been identified as a problem for many, many years,” she said.
Veer added the city does have to be careful with its negotiations though, particularly as it annexes more land where there isn’t curb and gutter servicing.
“There isn’t a clear policy (on cost sharing) when it comes to going retroactively — to give upgrades on what was the standard of the day to existing standards today,” Veer said.
Another project was also discussed briefly.
Council had previously approved traffic and road upgrades on 43rd Street between Taylor Drive and 52nd Avenue last October.
Staff reported that expected construction costs have increased significantly.
The project was originally set at $575,000 but with increased costs of $396,000, it’s increased to $971,000. The source of funds would come from customer contributions.
In other council news:
l City centennial tree, shrub and tree are approved. Council also agrees to “centennial branding” of a number of projects in the city.
l Secondary suite regulation ad-hoc review committee is disbanded after completing its necessary work.
l Council passes second and third readings for rezoning of land where Habitat for Humanity wants to build a three-unit row house at 3814 44th St.