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Shelburne, Lockeport part of provincial pilot project examining infrastructure

['Dylan Heide, CAO for the Town of Shelburne.']
['Dylan Heide, CAO for the Town of Shelburne.']

LOCKEPORT, NS - A provincial pilot program will be taking a close look at infrastructure within the towns of Lockeport and Shelburne this fall.

Beginning in October, a firm hired by the province will begin compiling a list of all assets owned and maintained by the two units.

The study will look at what is owned, where it is located and the current condition of the infrastructure.

Dylan Heide, chief administrative officer with the Town of Shelburne, says this process will help the town keep stock of what the health of their infrastructure looks like and to plan accordingly in their capital expenditure budget in future years.

“We would be able to understand how we are to prepare asset management of public infrastructure and be able to plan ahead,” says Heide.

He says planning ahead can save money because it gives the council an idea of what funds will be needed in the future and allows staff to apply for grants and other supports provided through government funding.

Much of the infrastructure in place throughout the town was built when it was much cheaper, says Heide.

Like many rural communities, Shelburne is trying to strike a balance in an effort to do the most work possible with the least amount of cost to taxpayers.

“This data will allow us to make smarter decisions on how we spend our infrastructure dollars,” he says.  “So we are better equipped to handle it.”

Lockeport Mayor George Harding feels this is a positive project for the town to join. He points out one benefit to taxpayers already: the town would have had to hire engineers to inspect the trestle trail bridge, which is currently closed due to concerns about safety.

Instead, the council can hold off and get the information at no cost through the study.

There are five areas of the province that are being looked at through the study. Lockeport and Shelburne are one of the five areas.

“They wanted to see how a small, rural area is dealing with it compared to a larger area,” says Harding.

All infrastructure will be inspected, including sewer and water treatment plants, roads, bridges, sidewalks, and piers.

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