Community Infrastructure Replacement

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It's no secret that the City's infrastructure is in dire need of attention. We've developed this page as a landing spot for the community to find updates on local infrastructure projects, to provide an opportunity to ask questions of City staff, and as an avenue to share information and collect feedback on infrastructure priorities.

There is a lot currently going on with respect to City infrastructure upgrades, and we are working to be as transparent with information as possible. If there's a question you have, or project you'd like to know more about, please don't hesitate to reach out in the Questions area below, or by contacting our Communications Office.

Contact information:
Veronika Stewart, Manager of Communications, Engagement and Social Development
(250) 627 0976
veronika.stewart@princerupert.ca


What is the scope of the problem?

Due to the age and condition of municipal infrastructure, Prince Rupert has a significant amount of infrastructure, especially in our water/sewer/road utilities, that should be replaced in the near future, as it is past life expectancy. Estimates place the total cost for current replacement needs at over $600 million, broken down by infrastructure type in the figure below.

Infrastructure Replacement Need


These overwhelming figures exists despite the fact the City has been making headway to renew critical water and waste infrastructure through the replacement of both our 100 year old dam, and development of a new landfill cell.

Although many communities across Canada have high infrastructure needs, Prince Rupert has additional revenue challenges unique to our community - including the restrictive nature of the Port Property Tax Act on our industrial taxation capacity, instability of Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) payments from the Prince Rupert Port Authority, a lack of Resource Benefits Agreement with the Province that would help transfer a higher proportion of industrial income taxes to the municipality, and the requirement to subsidize the airport ferry by over $1 million/year.

So, what's the plan for infrastructure?

To address known infrastructure needs head on - the City has commissioned an Infrastructure Replacement Strategy based on known age and condition of City infrastructure - specifically focusing on water pipes, which has both the highest likelihood and highest impact of failure. This strategy will be shared over the coming months, and will set the trajectory and priority for future infrastructure spending over the next five years. This process had been initiated prior to the Local State of Emergency, because the City is keenly aware of the escalating need to address local infrastructure. In addition to developing the strategy, the City has also been advocating for additional resourcing from higher levels of Government to implement it. The City has recently been successful in obtaining a $65 million dollar commitment from the Province for replacement of underground water pipes - which is the largest single financial commitment our municipality has ever seen, and a major step in addressing our priority water pipes. The City has also gone through the process to approve borrowing of $45 million for our contribution to the project, and has applied to for Federal funding of $82 million. This funding will support us in replacing 26 km of high risk/high likelihood of failure water and sewer mains. If we are successful in getting full funding, this will be a major undertaking that will get us ahead of the near-constant failures our water system currently experiences. Unfortunately, in the meantime, if we conduct replacements in any of the areas that have failed, that work won’t be eligible for Federal funding, transferring a bigger burden of the overall program costs to residents. For example, if we spend $2 million on repairs to the existing breaks, that’s $2 million that we will be taken off of the final grant amount and taxpayers will be responsible to cover it. Although staff and Council have been expending significant energy to get additional revenues through a Resource Benefits Agreement, resolution to port tax caps and payments in lieu of taxes, and development of Watson Island, potential revenues from these sources are still uncertain for 2024

In December of 2022, City Council also adopted a related Asset Management Policy and Roadmap that is helping to support the development of the Replacement Plan. (It's the "how" to our Infrastructure Replacement Strategy's "what"). You can find that in the "Documents" section of this page. Following the adoption of the policy, our newly elected Council held their first strategic planning session to set about prioritizing community needs for the next few years. The 2023-2025 Strategic Plan has now been finalized and presented to Council, which includes significant infrastructure priorities. To help support community understanding, we've highlighted some of the key infrastructure projects that we've pulled from the report and listed below. (Please note - the Strategic Plan addresses more than just infrastructure - and tackles a broad picture of community needs. See Document Section for the full Strategic Plan document).

What are the main infrastructure areas that the City is addressing within our strategic plan for 2023-2025?

The following is a list of key infrastructure priorities identified in the City's Strategic Plan for 2023-2025:

  • Complete and implement Asset Management and Infrastructure Replacement Strategies, as well as streamlined asset data collection policy.
    • Project Status: An asset age/condition inventory as well as replacement priority for water infrastructure has now been completed that identifies the top 26 km for replacement. The City has now successfully advocated for $65 Million in funding from the Province of BC that will be directed towards replacing water distribution infrastructure. To support the full plan, the City is also advocating for Federal funding to support the most critical replacement work, including for support to replace sewer works that are in the same areas. The City has applied to the Federal Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund (DMAF) for $82 Million for this work. To be eligible for Federal funding also requires borrowing on the City side, and Council has now completed the process to approve borrowing of $5 Million for design works and $40 Million for sewer works through an Alternative Approval Process (AAP). Additional information on the priority areas is available in the Document section, and the contract for the majority of the works has been awarded through our Master Service Agreement with Coast Tsimshian Northern Contractors Alliance.
  • Proceed with pursuing water treatment for the City and securing sufficient funding
    • Project Status: Under way - with $20 million in secured grant funding - however due to cost escalations, anticipated to be a minimum of $12 million more than the $30 million originally budgeted. Additional questions regarding this project are answered in the FAQ Section.
  • Proceed with developing sanitary sewer treatment and securing sufficient funding
    • Project Status: Applied for grant to introduce sewage wetland treatment system in Omineca Avenue area, servicing approximately 100 homes. (For more information - see the video, right)
  • Continued relocation of Public Works
    • Project Status: Under way. Construction started in 2023. Relocation required due to current facility conditions.
  • Continued construction of the RCMP building
    • Project Status: Mandated, and under way with the award for construction granted to Coast Tsimshian Northern Contractors Alliance (CTNCA). For more information, check out our project page.
  • Explore and pursue development of a new Fire Hall Building (subject to securing adequate funding and priority review).
    • Project Status: Currently very early in the process of determining potential costs, scope and partnership opportunities for this project.
  • Continue to pursue negotiations and advocacy with the Federal and Provincial Government to ensure the City has the revenue sources required to run the city and service industry.
    • Project Status: Under way - The City has had several meetings over the past few months with Provincial representatives to advocate for additional revenues to address critical infrastructure needs, as well as the limitations on our ability to collect fairer revenues from certain local industry. At the Union of BC Municipalities Conference in September of 2023, the Province re-committed to continued work on an Agreement.

What has the City already been doing to address the deficit?

Our primary focus has been the replacement of the 100 year old dam and supporting infrastructure - with the City now in the process of engineering and design for water treatment. In conversations with Northern Health and the Province, it was well understood that securing the water supply at its source was the first priority, because without renewal of the dam, the entire supply would be at risk.

Alongside critical water source infrastructure renewal, in the past 5 years, we've managed to address the following infrastructure needs, based on a phased approach that dealt with what were considered some of our most critical, or mandated needs first:

  • Completed and commission a new 40+ year landfill cell
  • Completed Phases 1 and 2 of our waterworks project - the replacement and burial of a major section of the watermain that goes from our Woodworth Lake dam down towards Shawatlans Lake, and construction of an access road; Once the access road was complete, the City and our contractors completed the replacement of our 100 year old dam. (For additional information, see our update videos in the right column)
  • Initiated the mandated replacement of the RCMP Station, securing a $25 million loan to complete the project. (For additional information, go to our project page)
  • Increased our roads budget, however this is still a priority area that will need additional funding to get ahead of necessary repairs and improve overall road conditions;

Despite the above-noted efforts, significant investments continue to be needed in all areas of our local infrastructure to ensure the continued livability of Prince Rupert for Rupertites and to support projected economic growth.

It's no secret that the City's infrastructure is in dire need of attention. We've developed this page as a landing spot for the community to find updates on local infrastructure projects, to provide an opportunity to ask questions of City staff, and as an avenue to share information and collect feedback on infrastructure priorities.

There is a lot currently going on with respect to City infrastructure upgrades, and we are working to be as transparent with information as possible. If there's a question you have, or project you'd like to know more about, please don't hesitate to reach out in the Questions area below, or by contacting our Communications Office.

Contact information:
Veronika Stewart, Manager of Communications, Engagement and Social Development
(250) 627 0976
veronika.stewart@princerupert.ca


What is the scope of the problem?

Due to the age and condition of municipal infrastructure, Prince Rupert has a significant amount of infrastructure, especially in our water/sewer/road utilities, that should be replaced in the near future, as it is past life expectancy. Estimates place the total cost for current replacement needs at over $600 million, broken down by infrastructure type in the figure below.

Infrastructure Replacement Need


These overwhelming figures exists despite the fact the City has been making headway to renew critical water and waste infrastructure through the replacement of both our 100 year old dam, and development of a new landfill cell.

Although many communities across Canada have high infrastructure needs, Prince Rupert has additional revenue challenges unique to our community - including the restrictive nature of the Port Property Tax Act on our industrial taxation capacity, instability of Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) payments from the Prince Rupert Port Authority, a lack of Resource Benefits Agreement with the Province that would help transfer a higher proportion of industrial income taxes to the municipality, and the requirement to subsidize the airport ferry by over $1 million/year.

So, what's the plan for infrastructure?

To address known infrastructure needs head on - the City has commissioned an Infrastructure Replacement Strategy based on known age and condition of City infrastructure - specifically focusing on water pipes, which has both the highest likelihood and highest impact of failure. This strategy will be shared over the coming months, and will set the trajectory and priority for future infrastructure spending over the next five years. This process had been initiated prior to the Local State of Emergency, because the City is keenly aware of the escalating need to address local infrastructure. In addition to developing the strategy, the City has also been advocating for additional resourcing from higher levels of Government to implement it. The City has recently been successful in obtaining a $65 million dollar commitment from the Province for replacement of underground water pipes - which is the largest single financial commitment our municipality has ever seen, and a major step in addressing our priority water pipes. The City has also gone through the process to approve borrowing of $45 million for our contribution to the project, and has applied to for Federal funding of $82 million. This funding will support us in replacing 26 km of high risk/high likelihood of failure water and sewer mains. If we are successful in getting full funding, this will be a major undertaking that will get us ahead of the near-constant failures our water system currently experiences. Unfortunately, in the meantime, if we conduct replacements in any of the areas that have failed, that work won’t be eligible for Federal funding, transferring a bigger burden of the overall program costs to residents. For example, if we spend $2 million on repairs to the existing breaks, that’s $2 million that we will be taken off of the final grant amount and taxpayers will be responsible to cover it. Although staff and Council have been expending significant energy to get additional revenues through a Resource Benefits Agreement, resolution to port tax caps and payments in lieu of taxes, and development of Watson Island, potential revenues from these sources are still uncertain for 2024

In December of 2022, City Council also adopted a related Asset Management Policy and Roadmap that is helping to support the development of the Replacement Plan. (It's the "how" to our Infrastructure Replacement Strategy's "what"). You can find that in the "Documents" section of this page. Following the adoption of the policy, our newly elected Council held their first strategic planning session to set about prioritizing community needs for the next few years. The 2023-2025 Strategic Plan has now been finalized and presented to Council, which includes significant infrastructure priorities. To help support community understanding, we've highlighted some of the key infrastructure projects that we've pulled from the report and listed below. (Please note - the Strategic Plan addresses more than just infrastructure - and tackles a broad picture of community needs. See Document Section for the full Strategic Plan document).

What are the main infrastructure areas that the City is addressing within our strategic plan for 2023-2025?

The following is a list of key infrastructure priorities identified in the City's Strategic Plan for 2023-2025:

  • Complete and implement Asset Management and Infrastructure Replacement Strategies, as well as streamlined asset data collection policy.
    • Project Status: An asset age/condition inventory as well as replacement priority for water infrastructure has now been completed that identifies the top 26 km for replacement. The City has now successfully advocated for $65 Million in funding from the Province of BC that will be directed towards replacing water distribution infrastructure. To support the full plan, the City is also advocating for Federal funding to support the most critical replacement work, including for support to replace sewer works that are in the same areas. The City has applied to the Federal Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund (DMAF) for $82 Million for this work. To be eligible for Federal funding also requires borrowing on the City side, and Council has now completed the process to approve borrowing of $5 Million for design works and $40 Million for sewer works through an Alternative Approval Process (AAP). Additional information on the priority areas is available in the Document section, and the contract for the majority of the works has been awarded through our Master Service Agreement with Coast Tsimshian Northern Contractors Alliance.
  • Proceed with pursuing water treatment for the City and securing sufficient funding
    • Project Status: Under way - with $20 million in secured grant funding - however due to cost escalations, anticipated to be a minimum of $12 million more than the $30 million originally budgeted. Additional questions regarding this project are answered in the FAQ Section.
  • Proceed with developing sanitary sewer treatment and securing sufficient funding
    • Project Status: Applied for grant to introduce sewage wetland treatment system in Omineca Avenue area, servicing approximately 100 homes. (For more information - see the video, right)
  • Continued relocation of Public Works
    • Project Status: Under way. Construction started in 2023. Relocation required due to current facility conditions.
  • Continued construction of the RCMP building
    • Project Status: Mandated, and under way with the award for construction granted to Coast Tsimshian Northern Contractors Alliance (CTNCA). For more information, check out our project page.
  • Explore and pursue development of a new Fire Hall Building (subject to securing adequate funding and priority review).
    • Project Status: Currently very early in the process of determining potential costs, scope and partnership opportunities for this project.
  • Continue to pursue negotiations and advocacy with the Federal and Provincial Government to ensure the City has the revenue sources required to run the city and service industry.
    • Project Status: Under way - The City has had several meetings over the past few months with Provincial representatives to advocate for additional revenues to address critical infrastructure needs, as well as the limitations on our ability to collect fairer revenues from certain local industry. At the Union of BC Municipalities Conference in September of 2023, the Province re-committed to continued work on an Agreement.

What has the City already been doing to address the deficit?

Our primary focus has been the replacement of the 100 year old dam and supporting infrastructure - with the City now in the process of engineering and design for water treatment. In conversations with Northern Health and the Province, it was well understood that securing the water supply at its source was the first priority, because without renewal of the dam, the entire supply would be at risk.

Alongside critical water source infrastructure renewal, in the past 5 years, we've managed to address the following infrastructure needs, based on a phased approach that dealt with what were considered some of our most critical, or mandated needs first:

  • Completed and commission a new 40+ year landfill cell
  • Completed Phases 1 and 2 of our waterworks project - the replacement and burial of a major section of the watermain that goes from our Woodworth Lake dam down towards Shawatlans Lake, and construction of an access road; Once the access road was complete, the City and our contractors completed the replacement of our 100 year old dam. (For additional information, see our update videos in the right column)
  • Initiated the mandated replacement of the RCMP Station, securing a $25 million loan to complete the project. (For additional information, go to our project page)
  • Increased our roads budget, however this is still a priority area that will need additional funding to get ahead of necessary repairs and improve overall road conditions;

Despite the above-noted efforts, significant investments continue to be needed in all areas of our local infrastructure to ensure the continued livability of Prince Rupert for Rupertites and to support projected economic growth.

  • Upgrades Secure Drinking Water System in Prince Rupert

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    (Provincial Release - also available on their website)

    PRINCE RUPERT -- The Province is providing $65 million to the City of Prince Rupert to replace crucial sections of its aging water-distribution system to ensure reliable water service for the community.

    The importance of reliable drinking-water delivery cannot be overstated. We saw first-hand the critical need for this funding last December when the city issued a state of emergency due to water-distribution concerns," said Premier David Eby. "Crews worked tirelessly to keep potable water flowing to homes during the holiday season, and I want to thank them for their efforts. Together we are working to support the people of Prince Rupert, replacing aging infrastructure and ensuring that this valuable resource is available now and in the future."

    Prince Rupert's water-distribution system is undergoing an increasing number of water-main and service-line failures, including the major line break on Dec. 15, 2022, which threatened the water supply for the community, which is home to Canada's third-largest port.

    "We know that old infrastructure can cause both public-safety and economic issues within communities," said Anne Kang, Minister of Municipal Affairs. "Working together, this funding will help support the health and safety of the community, and ensure people have access to the services they rely on."

    Prince Rupert's water-distribution system delivers drinkable water to approximately 14,000 people and is a crucial community service, supporting the continued sustainability of the Port of Prince Rupert. The port and B.C.'s northern trade corridor provides vital trade capacity and resiliency for provincial and national supply chains. The Port of Prince Rupert ships more than $50 billion worth of exports and imports every year, and provides economic and employment benefits in Prince Rupert and throughout B.C.

    This funding, through the provincial Critical Community Infrastructure fund, is in addition to the $1-billion Growing Communities Fund, which was provided to all 188 B.C. municipalities and regional districts to support their unique infrastructure and amenities needs.

    Quotes:

    Jennifer Rice, MLA for North Coast –

    “The health of my community is paramount. This investment will ensure up-to-date water-distribution services that are integral to the well-being of Prince Rupert's people. Our government is committed to supporting communities to create opportunities for them to build the public infrastructure they urgently need.”

    Herb Pond, mayor of Prince Rupert

    “Our community is thrilled to see this level of commitment from the Province. Securing our water-supply infrastructure is essential to securing one of Canada’s busiest trade corridors. The Premier, our MLA and the Ministry of Municipal Affairs have all been incredibly supportive. They know our issues and are committed to help. Today’s announcement allows us to tackle the most critical areas of water infrastructure and secure our supply for decades to come.”

    Shaun Stevenson, president and chief executive officer, Prince Rupert Port Authority

    “The B.C. government’s investment demonstrates their understanding of the need for an urgent solution that will ensure a strong, sustainable port has a strong, sustainable community that can support its growth. The Port of Prince Rupert relies on healthy municipal infrastructure to support the needs of its local workforce and maintain a livable community that can anchor our role as an essential trade gateway for B.C. and Canada.”

    Learn More:

    For information about the Growing Communities Fund, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/28220

    For information about the provincial surplus, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/27862