Posted on 17 October 2012 by Keith Lacey
Town of Osoyoos council has voted in favour of borrowing almost $300,000 to build new sidewalks and upgrade the roadway between Hwy. 3 and a large stretch of Cottonwood Drive.
The loan from a provincial government funding program for $287,250 will be repaid over several years. Council voted to pass a loan authorization bylaw at Monday’s regular meeting of town council.
The construction project will build a new sidewalk and fix up the roadway from the highway along Cottonwood Drive towards the Sage Pub.
This project was in the town’s five-year plan and should be completed as quickly as possible considering this is a heavy-traffic area for vehicles and pedestrians, especially during the peak tourist months when so many visitors use Cottonwood Drive to access the town’s main beach and numerous hotels in that area of town, said Mayor Stu Wells.
“It has become a safety issue,” he said. “There are so many people on that road in the summertime and there’s nowhere for them to walk except on the road.”
This section of Cottonwood Drive has hundreds and hundreds of people walking along the roadway every single day during the tourist season and there’s potential for something bad to happen because there are no sidewalks and there is heavy vehicle and pedestrian traffic, said Wells.
Earlier this year the town installed new traffic lights at the intersection of Hwy. 3 and Cottonwood Drive.
Construction should only take a few weeks once it starts next spring, said chief administrative officer Barry Romanko.
This project has a budget of $383,000 with 25 per cent of the funding coming from development cost charges ($96,000), leaving a balance of $287,000 to be borrowed from a municipal loan program offered by the provincial government, said Romanko.
The provincial government’s Inspector of Municipalities approved the bylaw in late May and elector assent was obtained as only 24 local citizens voted against the project after advertisements ran explaining the project and plan to borrow money to pay for it in consecutive editions of the Osoyoos Times in August, he said.
The town would have had to have more than 404 residents vote against borrowing the money for the bylaw to be defeated.
The maximum term for which debentures may be issued to secure the debt created by this bylaw is 20 years.
Council did not make any final decision on how many years it will take to pay back this loan during Monday’s meeting.
When you combine the low cost of borrowing money from the province, the ability to repay the loan back in small chunks over several years and urgency of this project, this is a good decision, said Coun. Michael Ryan.
Wells agreed, saying residents have been complaining about the lack of sidewalks and level of pedestrian traffic in this area of town for years.
The tender to complete this project will now be issued following council’s decision on Monday with construction expected to start early next spring.