Sackville Town Council will be asked on Monday to approve an expenditure of just over $21,000 to purchase global positioning system (GPS) equipment that would help map the exact location of the town’s utilities including water mains and sewer pipes, storm drainage systems, valves, fire hydrants and even manholes.
“We’re going to utilize the GPS equipment to be able to go out into the field and pick up our valves and manholes, catch basins, hydrants and even curb and gutter,” Town Engineer Dwayne Acton told council at its meeting on Tuesday.
He explained that the information would be gathered by town staff and summer students and downloaded into a huge database that will someday contain up-to-date information on all of the town’s capital assets.
Acton said the new equipment would also be useful in future road reconstruction projects similar to the recent one on Lorne Street.
“We go out and survey the roads and streets and we get elevations and we get locations of existing curbs and so on and we then use that information to do our reconstruction and our design,” he said, adding that in the past, the town was forced to contract out such survey work because it lacked the necessary GPS equipment.
Acton said the town invited proposals from the four companies in the Maritime Provinces that supply Global Navigational Satellite System (GNSS) equipment.
He added that after he and two other staff members evaluated the proposals, they chose the TOPCON GNS system supplied by Brandt, a technology company with offices in Fredericton. The town had budgeted just over $22,000 for the equipment, so Brandt’s $21,000 pricetag came in slightly under budget.
Mapping town utility locations is only one step in establishing a comprehensive plan for managing all of the town’s capital assets.
Municipalities across Canada have agreed to draft comprehensive asset management plans in order to continue receiving more than $2 billion every year in federal gas tax funds.
The money flows to each province and territory and is then distributed to local communities to help pay for capital projects.
This year Sackville will get $409,866 in gas tax money. To see how the town compares with other New Brunswick municipalities, click here.
Sackville has already invested in ArcGIS software to help construct its asset management database and last fall the town received a $48,000 grant from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities to help with the costly asset management project that will take many years to complete.
At their meeting last Tuesday, councillors were told about the expiry of the town’s $1 per-year lease on land in the Sackville Waterfowl Park.
Town manager Jamie Burke told council that Mount Allison University, which owns about half the land in the park, is proposing a new 15-year lease agreement with the town.
He said the town is doing a routine check with its insurance company on the liability provisions in the lease and unless the company raises a red flag, council will be asked to approve it on Monday.
A smiling Councillor Evans said he had a question.
“Did you try to improve the terms of the amount that we’re paying?” Evans asked.
Burke’s reply drew laughter.
“We haven’t started those negotiations yet,” he said.