The reported 20 year, $117 million Cast Iron Water Main Replacement Project moved into its third phase this summer in order to replace the 100 year old infrastructure beneath Moose Jaw's roads.
The first phase has been plagued by questions over billing that residents received, an issue that has yet to be resolved publicly after some residents were not notified of the final report. The second phase turned into what's being called the Phase 2 Fiasco after a contractor failed to meet several specifications and left High Street West a mess. It ended up being voted the worst road in the province, prompting the city to step in and take over a large portion of the work.
With phase three well underway, the hope is that the work being done each year will help to eliminate some of the money being flushed down the drain on water main breaks. City Councillor Brian Swanson says spending money on aging infrastructure will save money in the long run.
"It's the one capital project that will pay back," said Swanson. "It wasn't that long ago that we were spending $400,000 or $500,000 a year on water main breaks and we're now up to $1.9 million a year. As we get the system repaired, that cost will go down in the operating budget."
While around $5 million is being spent each year on replacing aging infrastructure, Swanson would like to see that figure doubled to make this work happen faster, the only trick is finding the money in a budget that is already being overdrawn.