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Old cast iron water pipes to be replaced for $3.7 million

Alpine residents warned to brace for three years of disruptions


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Alpine Meadows residents need to brace for the coming water-main work in the subdivision over the next three years; it'll be worth it in the end, said the mayor.

On Tuesday, April 14, council awarded the $3.692-million project to Ponte Bros. Contracting, out of Burnaby, to replace the water main in Alpine — two years of pipe replacement, one year of repaving. It is one part of the almost $5-million Alpine water main project.

The main water pipe runs right down the middle of the roads in the subdivision.

"The roads are going to be chewed up and there will be temporary pavement put back down before the final pavement goes ahead," explained Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden. "There will be time when it will be a little difficult to get in and out of people's homes. It's going to be pretty disruptive. The actual supply of water won't be interrupted; it's going to be access in the subdivision that's going to be a challenge."

The Alpine water-main work is the biggest capital project in the municipal work plan.

It involves replacing the unlined cast iron pipe in the neighbourhood, going on 40 years old now, with modern plastic pipe.

"Any of us who have seen rust coloured clothing (from the laundry) will know it's because the water has been going through these iron pipes," said Wilhelm-Morden, who has lived in Alpine for 25 years.

The Ponte Bros. bid was the lowest of four bids, coming in at half a million dollars less than initial estimates of $4.172 million.

The work has been anticipated for a while now, pinpointed in the municipality's long-term water plan. Alpine is the only neighbourhood with iron pipes.

Councillor John Grills asked if there was an opportunity for other utilities to come into the neighbourhood — natural gas and phone companies — while the water trench is open.

Meetings with all the utilities companies are planned for the coming weeks.

The mayor is asking residents in Alpine to be patient, as the work will pay off in the long term with tangible benefits.

Among other things there will be two new fire hydrants in the neighbourhood; the new pipes will reduce chlorine and pumping costs; there will be higher water pressure in homes. There will also be reduced usage — the new pipes will eliminate the current leakage from the pipes.

There will be a public open house on May 6 at the Whistler Secondary School from 6 to 8 p.m. for residents looking for more information.

Wilhelm-Morden added: "Everybody in Alpine will be affected by the project, so we wanted to get out in front of it because construction is going to start in the beginning of May. We want to give as much notice to people as we can."

The municipality is hiring a public relations firm to deal with the project.

"We really felt that this project was so high profile that it really was important to do this," said Michael Day, municipal utilities group manager.

About four kilometers of road will be tackled in 2015, with six kilometres left for the following year.

Whistler onboard for Drinking Water Week

The Resort Municipality of Whistler is supporting the public awareness campaign for Drinking Water Week, May 3 to 9.

The campaign, organized by BC Waste & Waste Association and supported by the province, is designed to raise awareness of the value of our drinking water by highlighting water conservation and protection as well as the people and processes that make it all happen.

There will be various events throughout the community during Drinking Water Week.

In her letter of support, the mayor wrote: "...we encourage citizens to take part and learn more about our region's water systems."