The government’s decision to spend $1 million on special culverts to allow moose and other wildlife to safely avoid the Grizzly Valley subdivision has been widely derided as a pricey waste.
But the territory had little choice in the matter, said Pat Molloy, director of community infrastructure.
That’s because the wildlife corridors were recommended by the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board. The Yukon government could have always varied this request, but once approved, it tied the hands of planners at Molloy’s Department of Community Services.
“We have to follow the environmental decision document we get so we didn’t really have a decision in the matter,” he said.
The amount spent on the big, metal tunnel may be eyebrow-raising to people unfamiliar with infrastructure costs. But it’s in line with similar projects, said Molloy.
To simply call the corridors culverts doesn’t convey the size of the job. Molloy calls the structure multiplates.
“The plates are curved and they’re all bolted together in pieces,” he said. “That’s why it’s called a multiplate and not a culvert. A culvert is one piece.”
Similar structures can be found at Hamilton Boulevard and McIntyre Creek. Each cost approximately $400,000.
The Grizzly Valley culverts cost more because they’re bigger, and more deeply buried.
“The two in Grizzly Valley are 68 and 38 metres in length, and six metres in diameter. So we’re talking about big structures.”
By comparison, the multiplate in Hamilton Boulevard is a little shorter, at 55 metres, and a lot narrower, at 2.5 metres diameter.
The biggest corridor at Grizzly Valley has 14 metres of fill between its top and the road surface. For Hamilton Boulevard, the gap is just 1.3 metres.
The Liberals’ Sandy Silver blasted the wildlife corridors last week, describing them as “deluxe private wildlife corridors.” Among his objections is that moose don’t even use them, as far as anyone can tell.
But that complaint may be premature, said Molloy. Houses and fences have yet to be built on the new lots. “Once that all starts to get built up, these corridors are expected to be the path for the wildlife,” he said.
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