Frozen out of city repairs

Just two days after city councillors voted against spending $650,000 for much needed water and sewer repairs on Hanson Street, the pipes froze up at Victoria Faulkner Women's Centre. The centre is on Hanson Street.

Just two days after city councillors voted against spending $650,000 for much needed water and sewer repairs on Hanson Street, the pipes froze up at Victoria Faulkner Women’s Centre.

The centre is on Hanson Street.

A sign on its door read, “We have no water and no working bathroom.”

Drop-in services, the Wednesday lunch program and the twice weekly pre-natal program were cancelled as a result.

It took a week for the centre to hook up to its neighbour’s water main, said executive director Julianna

Scramstad.

Now it has to wait another week before the water’s safe to drink. That’s because sediment lingering in the pipes from last Wednesday made it unsafe.

The issue isn’t a new one for the non-profit organization.

Every year frozen pipes force the centre to leach water from neighbouring houses, said Scramstad.

That usually lasts for six months, until the pipes thaw out. “It’s sort of a funny situation. We’re paying the city for water but we’re actually getting it from them,” she said pointing in the direction of the neighbours.

Usually the city will do the work of hooking the centre up with water.

But this year, the organization was given a water bleeder to help prevent the pipes from freezing.

But the bleeder hadn’t been properly turned on either by people at the centre or the by city, said Scramstad.

“The city came to us and said, ‘Well, it’s not our responsibility.’ So we had to pay for a plumber to do the work out of emergency money we don’t have.”

City councillors voted against amending the 2010 budget to include the $650,000 because it wasn’t included in the original capital budget passed in January.

The proposal was not only to repair sewer and water lines. The city was also going to close Sixth Street to vehicles while it installed new curbs and gutters, improved street lighting and provided a trail connection from Lambert through to Hanson and Hawkins Street.

The improvements were to be paid partially by residents.

In January, people living on Hanson voted to collectively pay $109,000 of the total cost of repairs, as part of a Local Improvement Charge.

“I have a real problem with this,” said Councillor Betty Irwin.

“The capital budget is what, only two weeks old and we’re already seeking an amendment to it?

“I think there are other areas that need the repairs far more, like Ogilvie to Sixth.”

Hanson Street is not the only local improvement charge that’s been voted down by council, said city administrative director Robert Fendrick.

The project would have been paid partially from reserve funds, he added.

“It’s a fairly small project on the scale of things.”

Even with a needed budget amendment, Councillor Florence Roberts said she believed the project should have been pushed through.

“I don’t think we can hold it up now,” she said.

But council defeated the motion.

Contact Vivian Belik at

vivianb@yukon-news.com