Council renews bid to place utility lines underground

Project was shelved this year because of costs

The District of Houston has renewed its commitment for a key part of its long-term plan to revitalize and beautify the downtown core by asking BC Hydro for a grant to help pay to place its utility lines underground between the Buck Creek Bridge and Butler Ave. alongside Hwy16.

BC Hydro agreed to provide a grant last year for the work to take place this year but when the only bid received came in substantially overbudget, council decided to shelve the work for now.

But this application for $237,600, which would cover one-third of the projected cost, keeps the project active in hopes of having it take place next year.

The approval for the renewed application came at council’s Aug. 18 regular meeting. As well, councillors are seeking a meeting with the provincial energy minister and the chair of BC Hydro to further press their case.

Putting BC Hydro’s lines underground is just one part of an overall project which would also see Telus and CityWest lines also placed underground, existing poles removed and advanced LED lighting installed.

The decision to not award the contract to the one bidder was made after that bid came in $453,680 over the allocated budget for the total project. The District had allocated its own monies to flesh out the financing.

Going ahead with the project this year would have complemented a sidewalk to be constructed from Benson to Poulton.

That work is proceeding because its part of the 9th Street project now underway that represents the first phase of the District’s downtown plan.

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