Bridge process flawed from outset
This is a copy of a letter sent to Mayor Sorensen and Councillors Karlos, Taylor, Baxter, Canning, Olver and Standish.
We believe that, from the outset, the process of approving the bridge has been flawed. We also believe that the mayor and council were presented with, and subsequently voted on, outdated information when the bridge was first being discussed.
As a group of very concerned citizens, we confidently assumed that if we documented up to date alternatives that would save our town millions of dollars, our elected representatives and administration would hear us. We now know differently. We contacted a world-class directional drilling company. That company’s president contacted our town engineer and numerous discussions between the two of them followed.
The company president submitted a proposal, based on a gravity solution, to the Town to replace the sewer pipes. This proposal did not involve a bridge. The company president saw no need for a lift station to make the system work effectively. He was, in fact, categorically opposed to that additional expense.
For reasons we do not understand, this proposal was altered without consultation with the company president. On April 10, this altered proposal was presented to the mayor and council, townspeople and the press. The altered proposal made a lift station mandatory, thus increasing the cost of sewage disposal by millions of dollars. Because of this misrepresentation, the directional drilling option is therefore no longer being considered.
Contrary to the advice obtained from the drilling company expert, our mayor, councillors and Town administration are insisting that a lift station is required for the directional drilling proposal to work. The drilling company expert says directional drilling will work efficiently without a lift station.
This bridge is a multimillion dollar project and we believe the citizens of Banff should have a say in what solution is implemented. We believe that replacing the existing sewer lines with new lines, without the pedestrian bridge, is the best solution.
This was my question to you, Coun. Taylor, in my email of May 12. Why was this accepted by the mayor, Town councillors and the Town administration? The company president was appalled that it was stated in the council meeting that he had recommended a lift station, and further, that this opinion was quoted in the news media.
We were all outraged at the outcome of this meeting, in particular with the manner in which the opinions of informed professionals and consultants were misrepresented and distorted to achieve the objective of defending the pedestrian bridge proposal. We were aware there was a definite bias for the pedestrian bridge, but did not realize to what extent.
Where is the responsibility to the people of Banff from our mayor, Town councillors and Town administration? As Banff residents and taxpayers, we expect a response from the mayor as well as each of the council members on what we feel is an extremely serious matter.
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