Saskatoon committee pushes for more funding for sound berms: Council faced with issue of increasing funding on another infrastructure project

Reported by François Biber, NewsTalk 650 CKOM September 5, 2013 - Roadways aren’t the only things being underfunded.

Wednesday the administration and finance committee heard the city currently has a backlog of sound berms totaling $37 million.

“We’ve chronically underfunded this program so now it’s time to catch up. We’re $37 million behind and we have to find a way to generate the revenue to get these berms in place to give people a better quality of life,” said Ward 8 Councillor Eric Olauson.

His concern lies on College Drive.

“College Drive is going to be getting busier as we get Homewood online and we’ve only built half a wall and we’ve created a mess there,” Olauson said about the sound attenuation devices along the main thoroughfare.

“The wall goes along College Drive and Circle and Central Avenue and it ends right there. The residents want it to finish up to McKercher Drive.”

According to Olauson and other councillors on the committee, this program is only receiving $500,000 per year in funding. Councillor Olauson recommended the committee ask city council to approve a base-funding plan of $2 million per year.

Don Cook, city administrator with the transportation department, said the reason there’s such a backlog is because the city has been tasked with retrofitting existing neighbourhoods. New neighbourhoods however, will be paying for new sound berms through their land purchases.

City council will review the recommendation and decide whether or not to increase funding for what Olauson is calling a basic quality of life resource.

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