CREWS are hard at work building an intersection off Hwy37 South to the city’s planned industrial park just south of the airport.
The project needs to be finished this year in order for the city to take full advantage of a nearly $1.4 million in grants from the federal and provincial governments.
The city has to spend $668,000 of its own money to get the federal and provincial grants.
“We have to do it now,” said the city’s director of public works Marvin Kwiatkowski.
“Otherwise, we lose our monies.”
The local firm of White Bear Industries has been hired to do the work.
The intersection and access road building work is slated to be finished by fall and will include lanes on both sides of the highway at the location.
“There’s going to be concrete islands in the intersection,” said Kwiatkowski. “There’s going to be a lot of paving done.”
Work to be done there includes not only widening the highway at the entrance point but digging out some space underneath the highway to insert some piping for a future water main.
Traffic lights will be installed at the intersection as well, said Kwiatkowski. And along the access road, paths for biking and walking will be built, he added.
White Bear Industries’ contract for the project is $1.6 million, and the additional $300,000 is for utility costs, said Kwiatkowski.
The city was told back in 2009 that the federal and provincial governments would each provide $668,000 if the city could come up with the same amount.
But the city has had trouble raising its share.
The Skeena Industrial Development Park has been a pet project of the city for more than a decade.
The city has an option to purchase 2,000 acres of Crown land from the province should it first find companies who want to set up shop at the planned industrial park.
City boundaries have been expanded to include the park area meaning that it will be taxing any industries who do open up there.
A key part of the project is a revenue sharing deal with the Kitselas First Nation whose traditional territory takes in the area.
There has been some interest shown by companies over the years but nothing concrete.
Mayor Dave Pernarowski said the city has now signed a memorandum of understanding with a company for a portion of the lands.
“That is very exciting but requires that we continue investing in the project to put the infrastructure in place,” he said.