One of Duncan’s main drags could look noticeably less cluttered in the next year or so. City council set aside more than half a million dollars at their committee of the whole meeting on Oct. 5 to facilitate the relocation of utility lines from above Canada Avenue to below.
“It’s something we’ve actually applied to with BC Hydro’s beautification program,” Duncan Mayor Phil Kent explained.
The program aims to help municipalities with environmental concerns to enhance visual aesthetics and while the money must be paid up front, some costs can be recovered.
Of the $540,000 council authorized, the City is in line to recover more than one-third from a local developer. The builders of Dakova Square (the new mixed-use building at the corner of Trunk Road and Canada Avenue), will contribute approximately $225,000 as part of their development agreement.
A similar arrangement was undertaken with the developer of the new building on Kenneth Street.
“With any new development that comes along it provides the opportunity to connect underground rather than overhead,” Kent said.
The City will pay for a third of the project and Hydro will also chip in.
Included in the project is the “undergrounding” of Telus and Shaw lines on Canada Avenue and along Government Street as well, further tidying up the scenery.
Aside from enhancing aesthetics, a bonus is increased resistance to power outages and other service disruptions.
“I think our goal ultimately is to, when we get opportunities to work with development and utilities, to try and do it. It has the benefit of less chance of power outages but it also makes the visual community much more beautiful,” he added.
“I don’t think we realize just how distracting the overhead services are until they’re gone.”
With the wires moved underground, it also paves the way for more significant boulevards and bigger trees and various other potential enhancements to the viewscapes, Kent said.