Bridge, and chip sealing of roads on agenda of Ratepayers Association AGM

Sounder News

Tuesday, October 11 2016

The Gabriola Ratepayers Association members will be holding their annual general meeting this coming Saturday - and discussion regarding the future of a bridge to Gabriola is on the agenda.

As with many discussions at the Ratepayers, the focus is not on the social aspects of an issue, but what any particular issue has on the tax base.

Randy Young, a member of the Ratepayer board, provided a copy of the AGM agenda, which stated the following:

“The Gabriola ferry cost us $10,260,000 in 2012, $5,672,000 in fares, $4,588,000 from the governments. Costs are escalating somewhere between 5% and 6% per year. 

“Minor route ferries revenue increased by 5.3% in 2015, yielding a cost estimate of $12,614,000 for this year. 

“Major dock and tower repairs are scheduled, along with the Quinsam replacement around 2024, which could easily cost the price of the bridge.

“Assuming the bridge would have vehicle tolls, and a False Narrows marine clearance of 10.8m, the same as the Second Narrows Rail Bridge, a bridge and road built to Nicola Road on Vancouver Island would cost $ 53,853,000.  We estimate that B.C. would gain $863,000,000 from reduced ferry subsidies and user fees.”

In 2015, the BC Government released the results of a feasibility study which looked at the cost of building a fixed link to Gabriola from Vancouver Island. 

Estimates (there were four potential locations for the link) ranged from $258 million and $520 million.

Chip sealing of roads

The members will  be discussing the recent chip-seal upgrades to Canso and Coast Roads and what kinds of impact such upgrades can have on an area. 

According to Young, the BC highways department is willing to repair culverts and do grading. 

The cost of having the two roads was paid for by voluntary contributions from residents on those particular roads.

At the reported cost of $68,000 for 1.1 km, according to Young.

“If the residents of Rollo Rd., Ritchie Rd., Gallagher Way, Little Boulevard and Horseshoe Road all contributed $6.50 per $1,000 of assessed value, the entire area could be chip-sealed. If the resident’s market value was increased by 1%, they would see a 15,400% return on their investment.

“Other areas such as McConvey would have to pay $9.05 per $1000 of assessed value, returning only 11,000%.”