west kal road

The story of Westkal Road… A road unnecessarily rebuilt at the taxpayer’s expense

The 25 residential houses at the end of Westkal Road have been impacted through the transformation of a railroad to a popular rail trail. On November 26, 2018, a petition was presented to Council on behalf of the residents with the following demands:

  1. Improved signage 
  2. Turning the boat launch into non-motorized boats only. The petition noted “Boat Launch is presently a disgrace and, because there is no gate, a hang out for drug deals and prostitution after hours”.
  3. The residents would like to see the entire length of Westkal Road fenced, from the cul-de-sac to Kickwillie Loop. 
  4. The residents would like to have the entire length of Westkal Road from the cul-de-sac to Kickwillie Loop, repaved and include proper curb, gutter and sidewalks. 
  5. They raised the issue of parking along Westkal Road
  6. The residents raised concerns about “sewage odours” in the cul de sac. 
  7. The residents would also like to see a proper storm system installed for the entire length of Westkal Road, from the cul-de-sac to Kickwillie Loop. 

The Chief Operating Officer’s (COA) report to Council described his meeting some 4 months earlier on July 6, 2018 with the two petition leaders and stated:

“An overarching theme from the meeting was the desire of the residents to restrict public access to their neighbourhood.”

The report noted that “Staff have been out a couple of times, since brought to our attention, to investigate and could not find any identifiable issues with odours in the area.” 

That report went on to say:

“District Policy TD19 sets out the parameters for storm water drainage improvements. Any project greater than $250,000 would proceed through a Local Area Service. The residents benefitting from the project would pay for the improvements. The request from the residents along this section of Westkal would be greater than the $250,000. Should Council wish this project to proceed, the District would have the design completed but the actual construction would be subject to the successful establishment of a Local Area Service. The residents will be advised of this direction, should Council wish to proceed.”

The next delegation appeared before Council on April 23, 2019, 5 months after the petition was presented to Council. Their presentation was regarding the Rail Trail Parking concerns. There is no record of discussions by Council at the following Council meeting on the matter.

At the July 20, 2020, Committee of the Whole (CoW) meeting, again a report from CAO Seibel outlined the situation for Council and the policy TD19 regarding establishment of a Local Service Area.

“TD19 sets out the parameters for storm water drainage improvement projects. Any project greater than $250,000 would proceed through a Local Service Area. The residents benefitting from the project would pay for the improvements. The request from the residents along this section of Westkal would be greater than the $250,000. The 1st option is for Council to decide if the storm project, valued at approximately $563,000, should flow through a local service area where the residents pay directly for them. 

The 2nd option is that the storm works are incorporated as a District project and the local service area program is not used for this project. As there is exiting storm drainage infrastructure in the area, it is harder to argue that this is “new” infrastructure.”

The last sentence from the CAO is somewhat ambiguous, but we assume it was to provide the Council with a reason to justify not using the Local Improvement Services Tax:

 The CoW made the following resolutions: 

  • that the detailed design of the Westkal Road Improvement Project be completed at an estimated cost of $40,000 to be funded from the 2020 Pavement Management funds; 
  • that the Westkal Boat Launch be utilized as a non-motorized launch only; 
  • that the Westkal Road Improvement Project be included in the 2021 Budget.

The Council ignored the Local Service Area Policy.

The District then held a Westkal Road residents information session on July 29,2020. 

On August 24, 2020, the Director of Infrastructure Services reported to the council meeting on the results of the information session with the residents. The cost estimates for the project were also provided.

At this meeting, Council passed the motion to close the Weskal boat launch to motorized traffic. It also recommended the Westkal Road construction project proceed and be budgeted for 2021 and funded as follows:

Cost EstimateContingencyTotal CostFunding Source
Road Works$638,000$254,000$892,000Road Reserve
Drainage Works$402,000$161,000$563,000Drainage Reserve
Westkal Road construction project

None of the costs were funded through a Local Services Area as described repeatedly since 2018 by CAO Seibel. 

On June 28, 2021, Council awarded the contract for the Westkal Road Improvement Project to Chapman Industries Ltd. for $985,213.90 plus applicable taxes.

The final budget summary was noted as

Tender Price (no GST) $985,213.90
15% Contingency $147,782.09
Total Budget $1,132,995,99

Engineering cost at $80,000 and you have a $1.2 million project for improvements to a dead-end road.

Despite repeated references to funding the storm drainage as a Local Services Area after the first meeting in November 2018, Council instead decided to include the $563.000 cost as an “Improvement Project” and be included in the 2021 Budget. 

Clearly the residents benefiting from the project should have paid for the improvements. Council did not follow its own policy and process and establish a Local Service Area before the actual construction. Instead, all the taxpayers of Coldstream have funded 800 metres of NEW Storm Sewer and 800 metres of NEW curb and gutter. The $563,000 was anything but “new infrastructure” and CAO Seibel’s analogy using the limited existing infrastructure during the July 20th CoW meeting is incorrect.

To tell the taxpayers of Coldstream that this Storm Sewer and new Curb and Gutter is not “new infrastructure” would be difficult to sell to the taxpayer. Instead, Mayor Garlick has explained the decision in the June 2021 newsletter as providing better treatment of the water entering Kal Lake: 

“Additional paving, construction of a half round-about, the creation of a drop-off area, and drainage works will take place at the West Kal and Kickwillie parking area. The aim of these enhancements is to improve the flow of traffic and safety in the parking area. Improvements to the local drainage system will allow for better treatment of runoff water before it enters the lake. The south end of West Kal Road will also be repaved.

If Coldstream did not install a new storm drain with curb and gutter, there would not have been a need to repave the full 800 metres of road. If the District wanted to address the storm water quality, they could have simply installed catchment tanks at the existing outfalls to gather the surface storm water so it could slowly release into the lake. We assume this is the Councils “treatment process” that they refer to in order to justify the $1.2 million expenditure.

Was the existing pavement in need of replacement or was the replacement needed to accommodate the storm sewer?

Photo showing siltation in Kalamalka Lake from Coldstream Creek

Mayor Garlick, please explain how you are treating the storm water from Westkal Road. More importantly, if you want to address the quality of the water entering the lake, have a look across the lake and focus your attention (and our money) to Coldstream Creek.

And as the CAO said from the outset in 2018:

“An overarching theme from the meeting was the desire of the residents to restrict public access to their neighbourhood.”

It would appear that the project has satisfied the desire of the residents to restrict public access to their neighbourhood. Perhaps the money could have been better spent on issues that affect the community as a whole.

The elections for Mayor and Council are coming soon. If you share these concerns, be sure to ask the candidates to justify this disregard for policy.

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