This is the current project status as of the last monthly report presented to the Committee of the Whole on August 17, 2020. The next project update will be posted in September. For more information, please contact the RM Office.
All construction and installation work for both phases should be completed by October 2020. Before operation can begin, utility rates and service agreements will need to be finalized. Our priority now is formalizing the memorandum of understanding with the City of Winnipeg and West St. Paul into signed service agreements, which will enable us to complete our rate application to the Public Utilities Board. We are also taking a close look at the recently completed public survey to determine how we can best assist homeowners as they prepare for hook-up.
- We are in discussions with the City of Winnipeg to convert the memorandum of understanding signed in October 2014 into a formal service sharing agreement.
- The draft legal agreement with West St. Paul is currently being reviewed by the RM's lawyer.
- St. Andrews representatives met with the City of Selkirk administration to discuss implementation of the recently signed operations agreement. This three-year agreement will ensure the new system is operated by qualified personnel as the RM's staff acquire the necessary hours and experience of certification.
COMMUNICATION WITH RESIDENTS
A public survey conducted by Probe Research was completed on August 4, 2020, and results are now posted on the RM website. Response to the five-week survey was strong, with 655 residents participating. About 90% of responses were from within the service area, which means we heard from about one-third of the households who will be using the new system. This is well above the typical response rate for surveys of this kind.
About 30% of respondents said they plan to hook up to the system within the first two years of operation, which is important information for preparing our first rate application to the Public Utilities Board. Although the survey showed widespread concerns about the project, it also indicated that many residents support its goals and believe it will provide benefits to the community in the long run.
The results of the survey show that residents are most concerned about the cost of the new system and most would like some help to manage those costs. Residents also want clear information about costs, utility rates, start dates and what they must do to prepare for hook-up. Most said they would be interested in some sort of practical assistance to get the work done on their property, and a significant number - about one in five - said they would be interested in a turnkey solution. Only about one-third said they would object to an annual flat fee of $100-$150 for households not yet hooked up to the system.
In consultation with the implementation committee, we are now doing a deeper analysis of the feedback and discussing what forms of assistance would be most feasible and useful as residents prepare to move to the new system.
CONSTRUCTION AND INSTALLATION
Lift Stations and Odour Control Works
- The River Road project is 80-85% completed.
- The Donald Road project is on schedule and 50-55% completed.
- Both forcemains are complete, as previously reported.
- Contractors continue to address minor deficiencies and surface restorations related to installation of the forcemain to River Road.
Low Pressure Sewer Line
- Six easements are still to be obtained, including two easements for Phase 1 and four for Phase 2.
- Manitoba Infrastructure has approved design drawings, and the work has been tendered by the Manitoba Water Services Board. The tender closes September 4, 2020 and there will be test digs on August 24.
- Contractors continue to raise manholes, adjust and straighten valves and correct restoration deficiencies.
Water Meter Installations
- As of August 13, 160 installations had been completed and 17 more participants were awaiting installation (177 participants in total).