Council endorses stormwater drainage maintenance tool

Red Deer will soon know what’s lurking below. Council endorsed a planning tool to maintain and replace the stormwater drainage infrastructure on Monday.

Red Deer will soon know what’s lurking below.

Council endorsed a planning tool to maintain and replace the stormwater drainage infrastructure on Monday.

Tom Marstaller, Environmental Planning superintendent, said the long-term plan will help mitigate flood risk and improve water quality coming out of the stormwater system in a cost-effective manner.

Council heard the oldest pipes laid in the city were in 1938 and the average age of the pipes are 24 years. Most of the pipes were installed in the 1970s.

Marstaller said the city has never fully inspected all the pipes.

“There is no immediate risk but in the long term as the pipes get older, they are going to have to get replaced,” said Marstaller.

“We know in the future we will have a lot of pipes that are going to come to their expected lifespan at the same time. We want to be proactive and get ahead of it.”

The report indicated that it would cost $8.9 million for 40 years if all the pipes were replaced versus an estimated $4 million if portion of the pipes were relined instead of replaced.

No funding decisions were made on Monday. Items will come up in the future operating and capital budgets.

There is a $150,000 ask in the 2016 operating budget to increase the pipe inspections in 2016.

A new stormwater utility could potentially help foot the bill for the necessary work. Council will consider the potential utility by April.

In other council news:

Council approved new zoning for the Baymont Inn & Suites site after a long drawn out affair.

The former Red Deer Lodge applied to change the zone to city centre from major arterial last year. The change makes the business consistent with other downtown city zoning.

The application was held up for months because of concerns over easements, parking, blocking sunlight from residents and potential development. There were a number of public meetings held over the last year.

George Berry, project architect, said there are no plans for development on the site. He said there was a fear of the unknown.

He said the matter is simply about correcting the zoning.

“It’s a big step for the city of Red Deer to correct this zoning,” said Berry.

“It’s about the last zoning that is left there. We have been working for over a year now to ensure the public has all their concerns addressed at this time.”

Work has already started on the interior upgrades. No other development is planned.

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