New Westminster proceeds with plan to borrow $30 million

New West residents have until March 11 to voice objections to the city’s plan to borrow up to $30 million to fund new electrical infrastructure.

On Jan. 28, council gave three readings to the electric utility infrastructure loan authorization bylaw that provides the authority to borrow up to $30 million, but the bylaw can’t be adopted until the city gets the approval of the electors. That’s why the city has initiated an “alternate approval process” to determine the electors’ views on the proposal and has launched a 30-day period for submitting/receiving elector response forms.

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According to a staff report, the city may proceed with the loan authorization bylaw, unless at least 10 per cent of city's estimated 50,616 electors tell council they don’t want the city to adopt the bylaw.

The city has been developing plans to build a new electrical substation in Queensborough to address the city’s future electricity needs. In 2015, the city hired an external consulting firm to review and assess its 25-year distribution plan and load forecasts.

“This exercise highlighted the rapid increase in load, particularly in the Queensborough area. The report recommended that a new substation be built in Queensborough to address this growing load. It also highlighted the significant risk associated with supplying Queensborough with electricity from the Royal 2 substation across the Queensborough Bridge,” said a 2018 staff report. “This substation will be a vital asset for the ongoing service and reliability of the electrical operations and distribution network.”

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