Total cost for key infrastructure projects exceeds $1 billion

Cost to be spread over decades; city to seek provincial, federal funding

One billion dollars worth of major long- and short-term city projects were endorsed by council Monday as it adopted four major master plans.

The plans lay out more than two-decades worth of infrastructure initiatives and run the gamut from a new water source and wastewater treatment plant, to major dike upgrades and a new downtown firehall. They are in addition to roads and parks, recreation and culture master plans still awaiting adoption.

The total estimated cost for the fire, water, wastewater, drainage and sewer infrastructure upgrades laid out this week exceeds $1 billion. The figure is massive, but Mayor Henry Braun noted that it would be spread over decades, and that the city hopes to be on the hook for only a fraction of that sum. The city will be seeking grants from the provincial and federal governments to cover two-thirds of the cost of many of the needed projects – and will seek complete funding to upgrade the city’s insufficient dikes. The District of Mission would also be expected to help fund the water and wastewater projects that comprise a large chunk of the bill. At $420 million, that multi-decade project is the largest single upgrade contained in the four plans, which were unanimously approved by council. (Coun. Patricia Ross was absent, but has previously signaled her support for the plans.)

Loewen called the process the most “ambitious undertaking” during his decade-plus on council. He and other council members said the plans lay the groundwork for the decades to come – although the plans will be reviewed every five years, and can be altered at any time by a majority vote of council.

Mayor Henry Braun echoed those thoughts. He said the plans are needed to understand which major costs lurk over the horizon, and underscore the need for the city to keep its financial house in order. The city has grown its reserves in recent years, and recently posted a $24 million surplus.

“We need to have the money available so we don’t have to go into debt,” he said.

Watch this week for more details on the various plans, and what areas of Abbotsford are slated to see improvements big and small.

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