Harrison seeks $2 million in grants for storm water infrastructure

Funding would go to curb flooding, hazards on Hot Springs Road

Harrison Hot Springs Council now looks to the provincial and federal governments in the fight against climate change.

The Council unanimously approved applying for up to $2 million to construct new storm sewer infrastructure to better manage increased storm water flow on Hot Springs Road. The funding would be available under the Investing in Canada Infrastructure – Rural and Northern Communities Program.

Village operations manager Tyson Koch told council current infrastructure was not able to manage the storm water from intensifying weather. Historically speaking, the current system drained onto private property, but increased flow and decreased outlet sites due to infill development have created a potentially serious issue. In his report to council, Koch wrote “This inability to convey storm waters effectively has created flooding hazards along [Hot Spring Road], which increases the possibility of a serious traffic accident.”

RELATED: Harrison Council: Proposed lagoon fountain comes under fire

In addition to the grant application, the council voted to commit up to $100,000 from the gas tax funds to cover additional costs related to the storm water infrastructure project not covered by grant money.

While there are general terms as to what the new infrastructure will look like, no blueprints or specific plans were distributed to the public yet.

The Investing in Canda Infrastructure program is a collaboration between varying levels of governments throughout canada committed to “Funding projects that will create good jobs and stimulate local economies to contribute to long-term prosperity” along with creating “greener and more resilient communities.”

In other council business, the council unanimously approved village staff consulting with the Sts’ailes First Nation concerning the draft flag policy. The current policy on flags was adopted in 2005. Last year, the village established a permanent location for the Sts’ailes flag in Civic Plaza but currently does not have protocols concerning the treatment of that specific flag.

WATCH: Sts’ailes, Harrison welcome first nation flag as permanent part of the village

The council voted 4-1 to approve applying for a Community Economic Recovery Infrastructure Program grant for up to $350,000 to complete construction on the Miami River Greenway along McCombs Drive. Coun. Gerry Palmer said the road is a popular walking area – and consequently, a potential safety hazard – for locals and tourists alike, and an improved path would keep pedestrians safely off the road.

Coun. Ray Hooper was the lone opposing vote; he had concerns the project’s cost would exceed what was needed to finish the project. Instead, he would’ve liked to see the application increase to $750,000.

Coun. Hooper brought a late item to the meeting’s agenda concerning audio and video recordings of council meetings. While the village hall’s council chambers are now set up to have YouTube broadcasts of the meeting, this isn’t the case for their current, larger meeting place at Memorial Hall. Coun. Hooper said this would allow further access and transparency in council meetings. Mayor Leo Facio said he would bring this up with village staff and was curious if the village was interested.

The Observer conducted an informal poll via social media and received more than 65 individual responses as of Monday (Oct.26) morning, all of which were in favour of audio/video recording of village council meetings. Coun. Hooper was among the assenting votes.

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