The money the Town of Oliver is spending on engineering services is a growing concern for two members of council.
Couns. Dave Mattes and Rick Machial expressed their concerns this week while discussing four capital works projects that council awarded for tender. These include traffic calming on Park Drive (near the elementary school), Fairview Road sidewalk extension, Airport Street rehabilitation, and McGowan subdivision water upgrades.
Mattes said the engineering costs for these four projects was $60,000.
He noted the Town spends approximately $300,000 a year in engineering costs by using TRUE Engineering.
“I know we are heavily tied to TRUE Engineering and I don’t know if that’s healthy.”
He therefore suggested that council start looking at hiring its own engineer.
Chief Administrative Officer Cathy Cowan said if the Town decides to have an in-house engineer, it wouldn’t be just one individual, but a whole team, basically.
Mayor Martin Johansen agreed, saying hiring an engineer for a town this size would be very challenging.
Director of Operations Shawn Goodsell said he didn’t think Oliver was big enough to have its own engineering department. He agreed with Cowan that additional backup staff would be needed to support the engineer.
But Machial reminded council that it cost well over a million dollars in engineering fees for the Gallagher Lake siphon repair study.
He noted there are towns with their own engineering departments.
In discussing the traffic calming project at the school, Goodsell said it features a widened road, extended sidewalk and speed hump.
Councillor Aimee Grice gave the thumbs up to the project, noting she has heard from parents about safety concerns when they drop their children off to school.
Goodsell said the issue is parents dropping off and picking up their kids on both sides of the street, noting that some people are not obeying signs.
A concerned Cowan said people pull up on the wrong side of the street and “walk across at random” with their children.
Goodsell said they are hoping to have the bulk of the work done by September.