On Tuesday morning, Feb. 22, the project reached a major milestone when the team finished pulling one kilometre of new sewer pipe from Abbotsford into Mission. Photo courtesy of City of Mission.

Up to $670 million needs to be spent on Mission infrastructure over next 30 years

Transportation and utility master plans were endorsed by council on June 6

Over the next three decades, up to $670 million needs to be spent upgrading and maintaining Mission’s transportation and utility infrastructure to service expected growth.

The City of Mission’s transportation and utility master plans were unanimously endorsed by council last month, after each was completed over a 20-month period by consulting firms.

Mayor Paul Horn cautioned future councils to be accurate in funding the costs, and not short-sighted for political gain.

“It is literally critical to the welfare of our community,” Horn said. “We want to turn compound interest into our friend instead of our enemy – (the pipes) are not getting less expensive to replace.”

Each master plan looked at projections for population growth and capacity, the cost of maintaining the city’s assets and how costs will fit into the new Development Cost Charge (DCC) bylaw.

It was noted that much of these costs – especially when it comes to new pipes and roads needed to service development areas – will fall on developers when the DCC bylaw is updated.

Capital projects to replace or enhance the existing infrastructure will be funded by a phased-in approach, and prioritized by immediate need. For instance, utility projects will be ranked by the potential impacts of a failure, existing capacity issues or to service growth.

The Transportation Master Plan (TMP) consists of five studies, which reviewed the existing system and provided short to long-term visions for the future.

It’s estimated that capital improvements (including land acquisitions) will range from $335 to $425 million, depending on the pace of development in the Cedar Valley. Approximately 33 per cent of these costs would be funded by DCCs, the rest through tax, grants and other sources.

In the next 10 years, nearly $120 million is anticipated to be spent on new intersections and corridors, sidewalks, multi-use paths, safety strategies, transit stops and fixing pavement.

Over half of that figure will be funded by developers, who will be paying for 95 per cent of the new roads and intersections.

A $2.9 million annual increase in the city’s tax base will be needed for other areas, the largest being pavement repairs and sidewalks.

A TMP study was also conducted to determine whether developing a port terminal on Mission’s waterfront was feasible.

It found Mission has some long-term potential, as a sea-shipping port as road and rail congestion to the west of the city increases, but a port is not yet needed.

For the Utility Master Plan (UMP), a total of 148 kilometres of pipe needs to be replaced in the next 25 years as existing infrastructure reaches the end of its lifespan.

Forty-four per cent of the sanitary sewer pipes, 18 per cent of the storm sewer pipes, and 24 per cent of the watermain pipes need to be replaced; pump stations and pressure valves also need to be upgraded.

The sanitary sewer replacement costs are the biggest expense, as a significant amount were installed in the 1970s and 1980s.

Computer modelling from the 2018 OCP, and various comprehensive planning areas like Silverdale and the Cedar Valley, show $79 million needs to be spent to service future developments.

Projects necessary for growth will be entirely funded by DCCs, whereas pipe replacement projects will be funded by user fees – though some projects will be funded through both.

The UMP also reviewed the Ruskin water system, wastewater treatment options, and recommendations were made to upgrade the pressure system in the pipes.

The replacement budgets for sanitary and storm sewers and water systems need to be heavily increased; the city currently spends $1.3 million annually, when $5.4 million will be needed to maintain and upgrade these assets.

City staff intend to review the large funding implications of both plans, as well as a list of capital projects, staff and rate increases as part of the 2023 financial planning process.

RELATED: City of Mission has ‘hard decisions’ ahead of next budget cycle, says director of finance


@portmoodypigeon
patrick.penner@missioncityrecord.com

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Transportation Master Plan funding expenses needed over the next 30 years.

Pipeline replacements needed over the next 25 years.

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