Abbotsford’s Water Infrastructure Upgrade

Here is the James W. Breckenridge plan to upgrade the water infrastructure supplying Abbotsford’s water.

On November 19, 2011 – the day of municipal elections across BC – the voters of Abbotsford vote NO on the P3 referendum, defeating the P3 proposal.

On November 19, 2011 – the day of municipal elections across BC – the voters of Abbotsford vote for James W. Breckenridge and elect him to council.

The new council passes a resolution apologizing to the mayor, council and citizens of Mission for the bullying, intemperate words and unacceptable behaviour of the prior mayor and council on upgrading of the water supply infrastructure.

Abbotsford and Mission turn their attention to working together to upgrade the current water infrastructure, a shared water infrastructure. That, as originally planned Abbotsford pay 2/3 of the cost and Mission pay 1/3 of the cost of the water infrastructure upgrade.

That we do not use current councils preferred method of design/build. Under this system the builder maximizes their profit by delivering the least project they can at the lowest cost they can at the highest price they can.

Water is far too important a resource to go with a design build. We need to be able to ensure the upgraded infrastructure meets not just current but future needs, is robust enough for the years of service it will need to deliver and delivers the highest quality water.

To do that council and the public need to have an opportunity and sufficient time to study the plans to discover and correct any errors and omissions.

It has been my experience that the skills, knowledge and insights a group of people such as the citizens of Abbotsford and Mission possess, can be surprising and serve to ensure nothing gets missed in the plans for the water infrastructure upgrade. Letting people share their thoughts and ideas can lead to valuable insights. At least for a council willing to actually listen with an open mind, accept and act on good ideas.

Going with this approach requires far more of council than simply saying build me one of these. But if the mayor and council are not willing to put in the time and effort required to ensure the needs and best interests of taxpayers are met – exactly why are they in or running for office?

We share a bus system, waste management and the Norrish Creek water supply with Mission. Abbotsford and Mission will need to continue to work together managing these systems into the future.

Mission and Abbotsford share many issues jointly, a sharing of issues complicated not just by the fact they are linked by transit bus but by their proximity. Issues such as homelessness and affordable housing are not specific to one city but flow between the cities as the homeless and those in need of affordable housing do.

Abbotsford’s mayor, council and staff should be seeking ways to improve the working relationship between the cities. Not seeking to drive a wedge between the cities.

Undoubtedly Abbotsford’s mayor, council, staff and $200,000 sales pitchmen will seek to drown Abbotsford voters in numbers as well as confuse the voters and the issue with Abbotsford City Hall doublespeak.

Here are several important items to remember and question.

Abbotsford will continue to need to work with Mission even if Abbotsford proceeds alone, rather than in partnership with Mission on upgrading the water infrastructure. Abbotsford needs permission to run a new water pipeline across Mission to get water to Abbotsford. If Abbotsford wants to tie into the current shared water delivery system, would not such an action require permission from Abbotsford’s partner in that system – Mission?

The working relationship between Abbotsford and Mission is too important to act in a way that negatively affects the working relationship, merely because Abbotsford’s mayor, council and staff insist on getting their own way.

Why should the taxpayers of Abbotsford once again be forced to pay millions of dollars extra in order to feed the mayor, council and staff’s egos? Are not the friendship garden and the sports and entertainment complex sufficient City Hall ego taxes on taxpayers?

City of Abbotsford’s cost estimate for cost of water infrastructure upgrade $291 million, less the maximum (we do not know the actual amount) of federal subsidy $61 million, leaving Abbotsford ‘s best case cost at $230 million.

City of Abbotsford’s cost estimate for cost of water infrastructure upgrade $291 million, less Missions 1/3 share $97 million, leaving Abbotsford’s cost as $194 million.

The City of Abbotsford needs councillors and a council who comprehend (as the current mayor. council  and staff continue to demonstrate they do not, and seem incapable of learning) that increasing the cost to Abbotsford taxpayers from $194 million to $230 million is a net cost to Abbotsford’s taxpayers of $36 million. That the $61 million dollars ‘savings’ (federal grant) our current mayor, council and staff are chasing is only an illusion of ‘savings’, an illusion that will cost taxpayers $36 million more than they have to pay. Actually $66 million extra when you add in 30 years of $1 million per year increased  operating costs that result from  using a P3, as set out in the report prepared for the city.

The taxpayers of Abbotsford cannot afford to spend $66 million extra because mayor, council and staff cannot grasp basic financial reality.

On November 19, 2011 vote NO to the P3 and the $36 million more than necessary the P3 proposal will cost taxpayers in upgrading the water infrastructure.

On November 19, 2011 vote to elect James W. Breckenridge to council; vote to pay (actually save) $66 million less to upgrade our water infrastructure.

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