LETTER: The numbers don’t add up for Harrison Hot Springs

Ed Wood of Harrison Hot Springs questions village asset management plan

Having been employed by the City of Vancouver as the manager of capital maintenance with my main responsibility being asset management, I am compelled to comment on the recent Village of Harrison Hot Springs Committee as a Whole meeting of Jan. 29, 2020 of which was solely regarding our first “asset management plan.”

Over the last six months, I have been trying to obtain information regarding infrastructure from the village office, which is like pulling teeth. I am still waiting for records today, which appears to clearly show the village is not being transparent to the tax payers.

I reviewed the proposed asset management plan and have a few comments. I looked at three asset classes:

Buildings and structures – per the asset plan, it is estimated over the next 10 years we will require $5.7 million with an annual shortfall of $284,000. Imagine the cost with the proposed new cultural civic hub facility.

Storm drainage – per the asset plan, it is estimated over the next 10 years we will require $1.27 million. I have obtained a storm drainage capital improvements document from the 2016 HHS Liquid Waste Management Plan, page 28. Table 10.1 identifies a grand total of $4.27 million is required. Quite a shortfall from $1.27 million. The village appears to have no intent to even maintain what we have.

Vehicles and equipment – per the asset plan, it is estimated over the next 10 years we will require $4.7 million with a total estimated value of $2.7 million. In simple terms, are we replacing all vehicles and equipment every five years? This appears ridiculous.

One also has to question where we are getting the annual estimated funds per the asset plan of $2.7 million from when the entire village taxes do not even bring in this amount annually.

Even if I take the report at its face value, we will need an additional $1.6 million every year. We presently pay a little over $2 million each year to the village. Therefore, in order to just maintain, repair and replace the existing infrastructure we have today, our taxes would likely double.

The Village of Harrison Hot Springs needs to stop frivolous spending – barbecue stands, plastic ice rinks, a proposed new cultural hub civic center – when it can not even pay for what we have.

Ed Wood

Harrison Hot Springs

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