Capital Budget Garners Much Discussion

Prince George, BC, Canada / CKPG News
Capital Budget Garners Much Discussion

The capital budget garnered exhaustive discussion around Council Chambers.
First up was the discussion around the library entrance project. It was again placed on the “Unfunded” list for 2017. But with prodding from Councillors Albert Koehler and Terri McConnachie, the project was added to the capital plan for this year, with Administration coming back with suggestions as to where the $2.5 million dollars would come from for that project.
Two other, more recent, projects were added to the list. They are a new Fire Hall #1 and a new Four Seasons Pool. The fire hall project would cost $15 million and would see a new location just east of the YMCA of Northern BC on Massey Drive. A recent survey of the current hall found many deficiencies, such as the fact it is in the 200 year flood plan, the doors are not large enough to accommodate the new equipment and it is in the wrong location to cover its assigned areas within the standard time.
However, Councillor Albert was opposed to the new fire hall in the capital budget this year.
“I think we should leave the fire hall where it is for a while, rather than have two major projects at once,” he says.
However, Mayor Lyn Hall had a different view.
“This is about safety. That’s key.”
The bill for a new Four Seasons Pool was already talked about in Council Chambers, when a needs assessment and three options were concerned. The first option of simply replacing the pool at $33 million was settled up.
However, because both the pool project and the fire hall replacement would have to be financed over a period of more than five years, the public approval process kicks. Another report will be coming back to Council, who will have to decide upon a referendum or the Alternate Approval Process.
Lastly, there was a lot of discussion around the roads budget. In recent meetings, Council had discussed the idea of removing $2 million from that budget, to be put toward parks and sidewalks. But there was plenty of angst about touching the roads budget and a host of alternate options were presented, one of which would have seen the tax levy exceed four percent.
Mayor Lyn Hall expressed some deep concerns about touching the roads budget and numerous studies have shown $7 million annually is needed to maintain the roads.
“I’m going to support this, but only because it’s a for one year,” he told Council. “We’ll have to play some catch up on the roads.”
Councillor Albert Koehler opposed passing the final capital plan.

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