Could turn out to be West Vancouver's biggest and costliest scandal yet.
The project was described in the District's 2013 Integrated Stormwater Management Plan (ISMP) as having identified 18 existing culverts and 24 existing channel sections below the Upper Levels Highway that were inadequate to safely convey high storm runoff. By reducing the amount of flow within the "five creeks" which are located above the highway, the 800 homes within the Rodgers Creek, Westmont and Altamont neighbourhood would be protected during large storm events. These five creeks have existed for thousands of years so when asked, the District said it is "for the benefit of existing and future neighbourhoods below and above the Upper Levels Highway".
Because this is an "infrastructure project" the District has advised us that no public consultation was required. As a result the only information available to the public is by way of notification from the District of "incorrect information circulating". Once again Mayor and Council are not answering questions and WHY is staff so adamant that the project must proceed.
The original timeline for the project was to begin work in April and complete in December 2019. The "information boards" now show road closures from May to early 2020. Well before the notices were posted staff informed council that this is a three year mega project. This will cause traffic nightmare while Exit 7 the route to Marine Drive will be closed except for local traffic, alternate through traffic will be diverted to steep routes up Burkehill Road, Bayridge Ave., Ripple Road and Westridge. Mathers and Hillcrest will become the resident detour route as well the quiet streets in Altamont.
The value of homes in the Westmont and 31st Street corridor are in jeopardy while this project is underway.
All this to install a five foot diameter stormwater pipe from the Upper Levels highway, down a new outflow at the Burrard inlet.
WHY DOES THIS EFFECT YOU? the District had us believe that the purpose was to upgrade inadequate existing infrastructure. Now it's learned that the District has entered into an agreement with British Pacific Properties (BPP) to co-fund the project. The District will pay a fixed amount up to a maximum of 6.25 million and BPP will assume the remaining project costs including overseeing the project. This is a private contractual agreement between BPP and their contractor.
How will the District fund our portion of the 6.25 million - good question! 4 million is coming from Developer Cost Charges, if the District already has that money in reserve good for them. If they don't and BPP can't begin development until the project is complete or if BPP decides there is no local market for their new development, do you the taxpayer really what to be put at financial risk for foreign buyers.
If you've done the math and are wondering about the missing 2.25 million in tax dollars, on May 9th the District disclosed "the remainder is coming from the capital reserve, which is funded by utility fees, not general taxation".
What other alternatives to a 5 foot pipe that disburses our natural resource into Burrard Inlet have been considered, shouldn't we focus on conserving and re-using our water and looking to the future instead of using outdated rainfall management technology.
This project needs to be halted! The source of generous donations to the recent municipal election needs to be disclosed. Mayor and Council was elected and must answer to the people of West Vancouver NOT British Pacific Properties. Mayor and Council have the authority to implement a STOP WORK ORDER and OPEN THE BOOKS.
Let's hold our elected officials accountable!