The City of Selkirk is investing $1.4 million into streets and waterlines this year as part of an ongoing effort to upgrade the city’s aging infrastructure.
Work is already underway on Sophia and Jemima streets and one block of Pittsburgh Avenue will be paved this year, pending Municipal Board approval. Selkirk Park pool will be re-asphalted in the fall.
Mayor Larry Johannson called the street and water main upgrades ‘another great improvement’ to the city’s aging infrastructure.
“It just shows the commitment that this council has towards improving and upgrading as many streets as we can get done in a year. We’re committed to improving the streets and other vital infrastructure. Citizens can see where our resources are going. It only reinforces our plan to have asset management in place so that when these streets need to be done, the money will be there,” Johannson said.
“I think what the citizens of Selkirk are seeing, and are going to see in the future, is we are taking action on our streets and making the investments needed to improve our great city. I’m proud of the directors, the administration, they’re rolling this out, making asset management work. We’re getting it done. Council supports it and it’s looking good.”
Final stretch of Sophia paved
The final remaining gravel section of Sophia Street between Queen Avenue and the railway tracks to the north will be paved this summer.
Dan McDermid, the city’s Director of Operations, said sidewalks will also be extended and some added which will connect walkways and make active transportation in the area much easier.
“We’re extending the sidewalk, tying in sidewalks that were never in place before,” McDermid said.
“Sidewalks on the west side of the street are tying into sidewalks that lead to Red River College’s satellite office on Robinson and Ruth Hooker School. The pedestrian traffic can now safely use Sophia Street.”
This was a three-phase project that saw Sophia from Young to Greenwood paved in 2014, Greenwood to the tracks last year and the final section this year. The city’s total investment into Sophia over the three years is $850,000.
Jemima gets new water main and resurfacing
The water main on Jemima Street from Manitoba to Dufferin is being replaced and will bring an end to chronic breaks that over the years have left residents of the area without water for periods of time. In the past five years there have been eight breaks, which confirms the cast iron line, installed in 1956, is definitely due for replacement. The new line will save the city money in the future as staff won’t be called to work on repairs.
Once that work is completed Jemima will be resurfaced from Manitoba to Queen, meaning the street, which has been patched numerous times following work to repair water main breaks below, will be in much better shape.
“We’re timing things perfectly, we’re doing the water line and then we’re doing the street right afterwards,” McDermid said.
Chief Administrative officer Duane Nicol said for the second year in a row the city has benefitted from having its budget completed before the start of the year. Most municipal councils don’t have their budget finalized until March and with the city ready to go months earlier, it allows for early tendering of projects, which can translate into substantial savings as companies are eager to get to work as early as possible.
“There’s value in being better prepared,” Nicol said, and noted the work on streets like Sophia and Jemima is essential.
“These are significant streets, and we’re replacing old infrastructure in an area where there’s been a lot of redevelopment. The waterline is a core part of servicing the whole north end. This reinvestment will add value to the entire area.”
Nicol said replacing aged infrastructure is vital to ensuring the city’s future progress. A Capital Asset Management Program is being developed to strategically upgrade streets, pipes and other infrastructure in Selkirk in the years to come.
“We have extremely old infrastructure in the city. Last year we completed Phase 1 of our Capital Asset Management Program that included a comprehensive review and evaluation of all our core infrastructure assets. It confirms what we’ve known intuitively for years – many of our assets are reaching the end of their useful life and without a robust reinvestment program we will see critical asset failures. We have tens of millions of dollars of work that needs to be done in the community in the near future. Our new Asset Management Program is going to help us make better asset decisions, but at the end of the day, it comes down to making the investments when and where they are needed. This year’s work is part of our ongoing commitment to invest in the community,” Nicol said.
The city will also benefit from McDermid’s pursuit of Manitoba Water Services Board dollars. The Director of Operations was aware of available funding and went after it, securing about $135,000 for the project.
Various other sidewalks in the city will also be upgraded as part of the project.
The work aligns with the city’s strategic planning is numerous ways, including having adequate funding for all city owned assets, investing in core infrastructure, ensuring a safe transportation network, investing in active transportation and providing a safe and secure water source.