Monday, June 11, 2012 - 7:00 AM

Budget Surplus Will Address Aging Water Infrastructure

The majority of the $10 million budget surplus from the 2010 financial year will be directed towards dealing with the City's aging water transmission mains, with Portugal Cove Road from Newfoundland Drive to New Cove Road and Mayor Avenue being the first priorities.

"We looked at many different options for the budget surplus, but Council was unanimous in that we need to use these funds to address some of the ongoing issues we have been having with our water transmission system," says Ward 1 Councillor Danny Breen, Chair, Finance and Administration Committee. "We have seen numerous water main breaks in these areas in recent years and it is time to completely replace this infrastructure. Each time we have a water main break it costs us significant money to not only fix the water main but to then also rehabilitate the road after the work is completed. This will be money well spent."

"I am very pleased to see that Mayor Avenue is amongst the priorities for water transmission main replacement," says Ward 2 Councillor Frank Galgay. "I have been advocating for Council to address the aging infrastructure in this area and am very pleased to see that the water transmission main will be addressed with the budget surplus."

Earlier in the year the City agreed to allocate $2 million of the surplus towards our street rehabilitation program for this summer. The remaining $8 million will be allocated to replace the water transmission mains in these areas.

Some of the other options City Council looked at and rejected at this time were paying down the City's debt and/or unfunded pension liability. The City has an excellent debt ratio which at this time does not require the City to focus on debt repayment.

"We do have a very long list of capital works projects which we need to address and we have asked staff to develop a multi-year plan for replacement of other aging water transmission mains, as well as a priority list for areas of the City which have flooding issues," says Coun. Breen.

Work on the water transmission mains on Portugal Cove Road from Newfoundland Drive to New Cove Road and Mayor Avenue will likely begin in 2013 as time will be required to complete the design work for the projects.

For further information:
Jennifer Mills
Communications Officer
City of St. John's
Phone: (709) 570-2037
Cell: (709) 690-7586
E-mail: jmills@stjohns.ca

Danny Breen
Ward 1 Councillor
Chair, Finance and Administration Standing Committee
City of St. John's
Phone: (709) 576-1041
E-mail: dbreen@stjohns.ca

Frank Galgay
Ward 2 Councillor
City of St. John's
Phone: (709) 576-8577
E-mail: fgalgay@stjohns.ca