«RECOMMENDATION: That funding of $1,900,000 be allocated from the Development Charge Recovery reserve fund through the 2016 budget process to provide ...»
REPORT TO: Community and Infrastructure Services Committee
DATE OF MEETING: September 21, 2015
SUBMITTED BY: Greg Hummel, Interim Director of Operations
PREPARED BY: Dan Locke, Manager of Sewers, Traffic and Operational
Support, 519-741-2600, ext. 4517
WARD(S) INVOLVED: All Wards
DATE OF REPORT: September 9, 2015
REPORT NO.: INS-15-044
SUBJECT: Snow Disposal Site Selection Report ___________________________________________________________________________
That funding of $1,900,000 be allocated from the Development Charge Recovery reserve fund through the 2016 budget process to provide for the design and implementation of a Snow Disposal Site at 1585 Battler Road.
Snow Removal Municipalities must move/remove any encroaching snow before lane widths fall below the prescribed standard road widths for all their roadways. This is mandated by the provincially legislated minimum maintenance standards (Reg. 239/02; Section 4 – Snow Accumulation).
Under Section 4 of these standards, the following is the minimum standard that forces
the City of Kitchener to load snow:
(i) to provide a minimum lane width of the lesser of three metres for each lane or the actual lane width, or (ii) on a Class 4 or Class 5 highway with two lanes, to provide a total width of at least five metres. O. Reg. 46/13, s. 4.
The City of Kitchener ensures adherence to these minimum maintenance standards for its own roads as well as all Regional roads within its boundaries through the Regional Maintenance contract.
There are a number of existing conditions that requires that snow be hauled to a disposal site. See illustration 1 below which geographically shows the first five condition areas.
*** This information is available in accessible formats upon request. *** Please call 519-741-2345 or TTY 1-866-969-9994 for assistance.
The sixth condition area can exist anywhere in the city but is more prevalent at corners that have additional turning lanes that impact the adjacent boulevard storage area.
Conditions/ Locations Requiring Snow Loading
1. The Downtown core where there is very little storage for snow and the presence of snow is not conducive to a vision of vibrancy and accessibility.
2. Narrow residential streets with very little snow storage area.
3. Curb faced sidewalk streets that become restricted due to typical snow accumulations and may limit emergency vehicle access or may restrict sidewalk widths.
4. Subdivision properties that have inadequate boulevard storage space to handle snow accumulated from roadways, driveways, and sidewalks. Most new subdivisions fall into this category.
5. Key arterial roads (especially 4-lane roads) that have inadequate boulevard space to store the snow plowed/shoveled from roadways, driveways, and sidewalk.
6. Street corners and intersections where snow accumulations result in restricted traffic sightlines.
The need for an appropriate and adequate Snow Storage Disposal Facility (SSDF) is clearly made by provincial legislation that imposes Minimum Maintenance Standards (MMS), which limits the amount of snow that is allowed to remain on or beside a municipality’s roadways and intersections. Should the amount of snow exceed the minimum standard, it is expected that the municipality remove that snow. Failure to do so has certain risks that must be understood so that an informed decision is made. The risks associated are increased safety hazards to vehicles/operators, pedestrians due to sight line restrictions, potential challenges for first responders to access narrowed streets during emergencies and a heightened risk of litigation against the Municipality.
Over the past four years, Kitchener has seen an increase in winter snow fall accumulations. This increase forces the City to haul more snow to make roads safe and accessible. The winter of 2014 dumped enough snow, that over 15,000 tandem dump truck loads (200,000 cubic meters) were piled at the rental property at 75 Ardelt Place, Graber Place Hydro lands, and was melted at Bramm Street.
Current and Past Snow Disposal Sites
Snow disposal sites are an integral part of winter maintenance. Although not specifically mentioned within the Ontario Minimum Maintenance Standards, snow removal from streets, corners and boulevards is a necessary activity to address the minimum maintenance standards.
Prior to the last 10 years, the City of Kitchener’s snow disposal site was located on Hanson Avenue until these lands were converted into the Activa Sportsplex now on Lennox Lewis Boulevard. Since that time the City has been challenged to find a permanent solution to the disposal of snow from its roadways. The Hanson lands were large enough to serve the community’s snow disposal needs.
Snow disposal sites have been relocated over the years as valuable site locations have been changed to meet the needs of the community. Two examples include the Hanson Avenue site for an arena location and Homer Watson Boulevard for the creation of Meinzinger Park soccer fields. Some of these locations met the needs for other amenities or the environmental impact from salt or sediment warranted a change of location.
Staff has explored a SSDF partnership with the Region of Waterloo. Unfortunately due to hauling distances and land procurement financial constraints these options were not deemed viable. Staff has also delved into the world of snow melting equipment.
Although snow melting has served its purpose for the City, as it has given the City some added capacity through the winters, it has been found to be a time consuming process that is very costly and certainly with rising fuel costs likely to continue to be a very costly option for the large volumes that will be seen in the long term. The City has however been able to minimize travel distance for hauling snow where the noise created by the melting process diesel engine does not adversely impact the neighbourhood. Snow melting helps when Kitchener experiences large volumes of snow, but hauling to a snow disposal site and allowing natural melting to occur would be the more cost efficient option.
Although the City was able to negotiate a lease extension on the 1.2 acres used as a 24 hour snow dump site on the 75 Ardelt Place property to July 31, 2016, the current owners have given notice that this land will not be available past that date. This will affect Operation’s ability to remove snow during the overnight hours which is when the downtown areas and arterial road snow removal activities are performed. The snow loading activities are performed during night time hours to minimize the vehicular and pedestrian conflicts and to maximize operational efficiencies, while maintaining community and worker safety. Note that this property is only able to handle the snow accumulations of a very light winter and is simply is not large enough on its own to handle even an average winter’s snow accumulations.
A snow disposal site is an immediate need for the City of Kitchener.
The following sites are currently used for snow disposal:
1. 75 Ardelt Place (pending loss of the 1.2 acres lands effective July 31, 2016) (regardless, it’s too small to meet our entire needs at present)
2. Hydro lands on Graber Place (restricted to daytime use only)
3. Snow melting at Bramm St Yard (upper yard 0.7 acres) (to be redeveloped by Economic Development, as soon as possible) Note that the currently used Graber lands would be available on a contingency basis to ensure that the City has a large enough foot print to handle snow accumulations in an extremely heavy winter season. Graber Place would be utilized as a last resort and restricted to daytime use only and its use would have no financial impact. The lands would also continue to be used as a snow dump by Kitchener Wilmot Hydro.
Given the current snow disposal locations are rapidly becoming unavailable, i.e., loss of leased land at Ardelt, redevelopment of Bramm Street melting location and reduced time at Graber, it leaves the City vulnerable to not being able to meet the MMS as early as the 2016-2017 winter season. This is a real concern as delaying the implementation of a Snow Disposal Facility that meets the community’s needs leaves the Corporation at risk to claims should the streets fail to be maintained to the MMS.
Although an Environmental Assessment (Schedule “B” or “C”) process is not required for this project, a similar scrutiny of review was followed for the site selection evaluation process.
Please see the attached MTE report on SSDF which also refers to all sites that have been investigated or considered. The following is a summary of the Appendix B Evaluation Matrix.
Evaluation Criteria Summary Chart The Summary Chart ranks the Battler Road site as having the best overall fit for a snow storage disposal site. Therefore based on the MTE investigative report staff are recommending that the land on 1585 Battler Road be redeveloped into a permanent location for an environmentally responsible engineered Snow Storage Disposal Facility.
For detailed information regarding the site selection criteria please see Appendix B Evaluation Matrix in the attached MTE technical report.
ALIGNMENT WITH CITY OF KITCHENER STRATEGIC PLAN:
An Engineered Environmentally responsible SSDF site meets several of the key points with the City’s Strategic Plan. Firstly, it meets the intent of the environment priority by incorporating a snow disposal strategy that is mindful of environmental sensitivities that are real concerns within Kitchener’s ecological system. Second and thirdly it supports the intent of the Neighbourhoods and Transportation priorities; by removing the snow accumulations a safer, more accessible neighbourhood is able to exist promoting a community of wellbeing while allowing ease of navigation by vehicles and pedestrians.
SSDF Preliminary Cost Estimate for Preferred Site Battler Road Table 1 below is an excerpt from the MTE report that provides details on the physical elements and a corresponding high level cost estimate for the development of a SSDF in the City of Kitchener. The information provided in Table 2 is based on a review of Best Management Practices (BMP) documents and meetings with local and provincial agency representatives.
Note, the items listed in this table are considered essential and would be required regardless of the location. A price range has been provided to account for site uncertainties such as proximity to, and access to existing infrastructure (i.e. outlets, services, etc.) and access roads. The range is of $2.4 to $3.1 million which is consistent with other municipalities that have development and constructed engineered SSDFs.
Table 2 below is an excerpt from the MTE report outlining the detailed cost estimates for the preferred site of 1585 Battler Road. These estimated costs are the costs associated with a SSDF sufficiently sized to meet the City’s needs specific to this location. The costs of converting this site to a snow dump are less than a new site due to the synergies of already having a storm water pond sufficient to handle the additional loading. Note that the City of Kitchener already owns this land so no additional purchase cost would be incurred.
The development costs to construct a SSDF, regardless of site specific details is estimated to range from approximately $2,400,000 to $3,100,000. The corresponding engineering and study costs are estimated to be approximately 15% of the construction costs ranging from approximately $290,000 to $370,000.
The preliminary cost estimate for the preferred Option 1585 Battler Road is estimated to be approximately $2,220,000, which includes $1,908,500 for construction and $308,000 for engineering, monitoring, permits and approvals.
While the estimated project cost is just over $2.2M, the recommended budget allocation being directed to the 2016 budget process is $1.9M from the Development Charge (DC) Recovery reserve fund. This requested amount accounts for an existing capital balance of just under $400,000 (bringing the total budget of the project to approximately $2.3M).
The DC Recovery reserve fund was created as part of the 2014 Development Charges Study and Bylaw and allocated for the first time as part of the 2015 budget. Funds had been allocated for a Snow Dump Facility during the presentation of the capital budget, but were removed pending further information about the need for a Snow Dump and its possible locations. The amount of $1.9M being directed to the 2016 budget process are consistent with the amount initially identified for a Snow Dump facility as part of the 2015 budget.
INFORM – CONSULT – COLLABORATE – ENTRUST Once a final site has been selected, staff and the Design Consultant will work with the community, Mayor and Ward Councillor(s) to ensure that the local residents have a chance to be informed of the intent of the proposed design plan. They will be given the opportunity to provide feedback and staff will take their concerns into account during the SSDF planning process in an effort to help create a cohesive existence between the SSDF and the surrounding neighbourhood. The community engagement piece will likely be achieved through public meetings.
In conclusion, a permanent SSDF is required to meet the community’s needs of today as well as the future needs of the next 15 to 20 years. A permanent SSDF will assist the Operations Division in providing a critical service to the community, one that will help provide a safer winter experience for residents and visitors to the community. The site at 1585 Battler Road is the best site for a permanent solution and should be redeveloped into an environmentally responsible engineered snow dump.