Many residents remember the large sinkhole that opened up near the intersection of Winnipeg and Carney Street a few years ago. An increase in sinkholes is one of the many negative consequences of aging and deteriorating stormwater infrastructure. These consequences and the increasing costs associated with preventing them are among the reasons the City of Prince George wishes to increase public knowledge about the challenges the city and most other municipalities face with aging stormwater systems.
The city is encouraging all residents to visit www.princegeorge.ca/getinvolved to learn more about Prince George’s municipal stormwater infrastructure and fill out a survey to provide feedback. The survey will be open until October 4, 2021, and the results will be used to inform the City’s Integrated Stormwater Management Plan (ISMP), which will ultimately include ways to finance the maintenance of this critical infrastructure. The ISMP is a strategic plan that outlines the City’s short to long-term goals for its stormwater management program and acts as a guide on how to achieve these goals.
“Our city’s vast size and relatively small population mean we have many more storm sewers and ditches to maintain than many of our sister municipalities (almost twice as many as Kelowna), but with fewer resources to do so (approximately half of the tax-paying population of Kelowna),” said Kristy Bobbie, the City’s Manager of Asset Management. “Expansive development also threatens our natural stormwater assets, which include our forests and green spaces.”
The ISMP integrates land use, infrastructure, public safety, and the environment to guide community growth while maintaining or improving the health of our community’s watersheds. A detailed analysis was completed over the last year in the form of four Technical Working Papers that provided the input for this overarching Guiding Document, Roadmap, and action list.
The analysis found that over the last five years the City has spent, on average, $4.4 million per year on stormwater management. Although this is a significant amount of money, it does not provide enough to meet the maintenance and replacement requirements needed. An additional $4.7M annually on average would be required to keep the stormwater system in good working order now and for future generations.
“Like most municipalities, the City of Prince George faces challenges related to stormwater management, but the ISMP is a step in the right direction by formalizing the vision, goals, and actions to move these challenges into opportunities,” said Bobbie. “The plan will not only guard against hazards like flooding and sinkholes in Prince George, it will also help keep our waterways clean into the future.”
The City of Prince George will be conducting further public engagement activities relating to the Integrated Stormwater Management System in the coming year and providing regular progress updates to Council and the public.
Please visit www.princegeorge.ca/getinvolved to review important information about the City’s stormwater infrastructure and to fill out the survey. Visit www.princegeorge.ca/infrastructure to learn more about Prince George’s aging infrastructure in general.