The City of Selkirk in Manitoba will be spending a total of $3 million in 2020 on nine infrastructure projects that have been identified through the city’s Capital Asset Management Program (CAMP).

The projects will renew and upgrade the sewer, water main liner, sewer liner, and road surface on Manchester Avenue between Main Street and Sophia.

“Using asset management, we’re making strategic, proactive infrastructure investments that are helping us get ahead of problems,” said Duane Nicol, the chief administrative officer at the City of Selkirk. “We’re also preparing our systems to support the growth we’ve seen over the past five years. In the long-run this sort of planning and data driven decision making will mean we have better infrastructure for less cost.”

The light at the end of the tunnel

Dan McDermid, the City of Selkirk’s director of operations, said Manchester Avenue has had construction activity for the past two years—from Mercy to Sophia in 2019 and from Mercy to the end of the block in 2019. The work undertaken in 2020 will complete combined sewer replacement and other upgrades on the street west of Main. The city has a long-term plan to separate all combined sewers, which can cause basement back-ups during high rainfall events.

“The Manchester sewer was the driving force for all of this,” said McDermind. “It had a condition rating of five, which meant it was in very poor shape. Within our asset management system, condition ratings go from one to five, with five being the worst or the closest to asset failure. The sewer on Manchester serves a couple other neighbourhoods as well, so it’s collecting from a larger area. If it did fail, it would have a big impact, potentially 200 or more houses, so it was important to complete this work.”

A long time coming

Nicol said the work on Manchester is aligned with the City’s climate change adaptation plan, which called on the city to prepare for more frequent and more intense rain events.

“We’ve had a sewer separation plan for almost two decades now and had made a bit, but not lots of progress,” said Nicol. “Fulfilling a tactic in our climate change adaptation strategy, we amended our asset risk policy so now projects that separate sewers are getting a higher priority. Plus, with asset management, we’re aligning this work with other needed works in the same area and getting better bang for our infrastructure dollar.”

A water main renewal on Main Street from Strathnaver to Sinclair Avenue will start in June 2020.

“We’re not seeing any breaks or issues right now, but based on our asset life-cycle modelling, we know they are potentially coming soon,” said McDermid.

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