Telkwa considers patching up aging reservoir

The Village of Telkwa is looking at upgrading its existing reservoir and potentially building a new multi-million dollar one.

The Village of Telkwa is looking at upgrading its existing reservoir and potentially building a new multi-million dollar one as well.

Currently, the village does not meet fire protection and water storage capacities required to meet the community’s needs as set out by the Underwriters Survey.

“Most of the communities’ premium real estate for future development resides on the east side of the Bulkley River and therefore cannot be developed because of our current water distribution limitations,” said Scott Beck, engineering technologist with the village, in a memo to council.

However, a new reservoir could change that.

Council indicated that the 1.3-million litre reservoir could be built on Trobak Hill.

Along with potentially building a new reservoir, the village would also need to make upgrades to its current Morris Concrete Reservoir, located south of the village just off Morris Road.

A recent investigation by the Bulkley Valley Engineering Service found hairline cracks throughout the 31-year-old structure, mainly due to changing temperatures.

“Anything that is exposed to temperature changes is going to want to shrink and expand primarily in its long direction,” said engineer Eerik Lilles during the meeting.

“This thing is expanding and contracting with temperature changes and it’s gotta give somewhere, so it’s cracking.”

The rest of the reservoir, including the foundation and roof system, remain in relatively good condition despite not having any upgrades done to it in recent years.

Lilles said the cracks don’t pose an immediate threat to the structure and with upgrades and annual maintenance of the site, it could extend the life of the reservoir by another 20 years.

“It doesn’t have an immediate risk of failure, but having these cracks isn’t great either,” said Lilles.

“It’s not something you have to do today, you probably won’t suffer too much if you don’t get to it next year. But I would think within the next couple of years you should.”

He also recommended adding a coating that could be applied to the inside of the reservoir and floors which would help the cracks heal over time.

The entire project, including the $171,613 cost of upgrading the Morris Concrete Reservoir, would be approximately $2.4 million.

But the construction of a new reservoir could be a long way off.

Finding funding for the project was a concern during Monday’s council meeting.

Coun. Rimas Zitkauskas said they could potentially pull some of the money from the gas tax.

“There’s nothing in the foreseeable future that we would need the gas tax for,” said Zitkauskas.

“I think it’s doable . . . but we would have to take a closer look during the budget process.”

There is also the possibilty of applying for and receiving funding from grants such as the Build Canada Fund or the Community Improvement Fund.

But Mayor Graf said the project probably won’t get off the ground for at least a few more years.

“Unless some miracle happens, we’re probably five years away from having another reservoir,” he said.

Kim Martinsen, chief administrative officer with the village, said even if they do find funding for the project, council would still need public approval.

“We still need to go through the process of a referendum . . . because we have to have approval from the public to do it,” said Martinsen.


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