Motion means potential paving for Pinecrest

The resurfacing of 27A and 29th Avenue South is now a possibility for 2016. The avenues are currently gravel roads.

A resolution that would make the resurfacing of 27A and 29th Avenue South in the Pinecrest area of Cranbrook a possibility in 2016 caused quite a bit of discussion at Monday night’s council meeting.

Coun. Isaac Hockley put forward the resolution which passed by a 5-2 vote. Councillors Ron Popoff and Norma Blissett were opposed to the resolution.

The resolution read that in February of 1971, the City of Cranbrook extended its boundaries to include Pinecrest with the installation of “City Standard” sewer services to be paid entirely by Pinecrest residents. At that time, the city did not require water services or road repair to be upgraded to city standards. The residents of Pinecrest and the city participated in a mutual relationship in which taxes were paid in exchange for city services since 1973. On April 12, 2010, council directed replacement of the water services on 27A and 29th Avenue South and added that “council shall consider paving 27A and 29th Avenue in future years, such consideration to be made in the context of city wide priorities and the direction arising from the asset management study.”

Hockley’s resolution asks that council direct city staff to defer and carry forward the 2015 gravel resurface project for 27A and 29th Avenue and bring it back in 2016 for council to consider paving 27A and 29th Avenue as part of the 2016 road program.

CAO Wayne Staudt noted that the Pinecrest roads are not identified as high priority on the Integrated Infrastructure Capital plan.

“These are identified by potential failure down the road, importance to the community and so forth,” Staudt said, adding that the Pinecrests streets are not listed to get paved surfaces in the next five years currently.

He noted there is a significant amount of roadwork — about $48 million in the next five years —that would be up before the paving of 27A and 29th Avenue South, without the resolution.

Coun. Norma Blissett was concerned about the motion.

“I realize there are other areas in the city that don’t have paved road services and some don’t have sewer and water services,” Blissett said. “I’m not sure that we should set this area aside as a priority over other roads that are also gravelled.”

She noted 18th Street South, 19th Street South up 11th and 12th Avenue South.

“I’m afraid of making this a priority outside of the asset management plan. I think we should go with the asset management plan as priority number one,” she said. “I’m not sure that these roads should be set as a high priority outside of that.”

Coun. Wesly Graham said it makes sense in terms of this year’s roads program.

“When we were looking at doing a bunch of paving we were looking for low-hanging fruit,” Graham said. “We were looking for roads that could be resurfaced that had decent water and sewer underneath it, and to the best of our knowledge we wouldn’t be digging up in a couple years time.”

Graham said from looking at these roads he would consider them safe judging from the comments about the infrastructure work done in 2010.

Coun. Ron Popoff said he would support the resolution if the intent is not to give favouritism to these roads, but rather to add them to the list of those being considered for work in 2016.

Blissett worried that they were being prioritized over others, and that’s how it will come across to the public.

Graham said it makes sense to look at this because it is already slated for gravel work.

“If we’re going to spend upwards of $100,000 or whatever in gravel, maybe we should just have a look at these roads, because they are slated for some work, so if they are worth investing a bit of money into it, why not look at investing a bit more over the long term,” Graham said.

Mayor Lee Pratt said he agreed with both Graham and Blissett.

“But I tend to think if we’re specifically naming these outside of the asset management plan, then possibly we’re giving these people a false sense of hope,” Pratt said. “Personally I’ve driven down those roads and quite frankly there are streets in Cranbrook that are traveled much more frequently by many more people that are in worse shape than these two roads.”

Erik Sharpe, director of Engineering explained the new gravel surface is planned to move away from the two-inch minus, which was to form a solid enough surface for future road work.

Popoff asked for clarification on whether this moves outside the asset management plan.

Staudt oblidged.

“My interpretation would be, as Coun. Blissett has mentioned, we wouldn’t be bringing you forward in 2016, 27A Avenue and 29th Avenue as a priority road if not for this resolution,” Staudt said. “We’re moving outside the asset management plan.”