In the last big spending vote before the election is called later this year, city council on Tuesday will be asked to approve money for long talked about projects.
Leading the way is more than $17 million for detailed design work for the Lewis Farms Rec Centre. That design work will be complete in 2019, meaning construction will soon follow. That additional spending, added to what’s already approved by city council, brings the total budget to $21.4 million, which also includes a land purchase for the rec centre, library and district park.
The largest dollar amount in new spending is more than $90 million, made up of federal money for utility upgrades for Fort Edmonton Park. The utilities are “near the end of their life-cycle,” the report said. “The recommendation is replace all the utility infrastructure by 2020.” The utility upgrades were announced at a news conference March 3.
Changes are needed in the budget because the city isn’t getting as much money from the province in MSI grants than first thought. On the other hand, the markets are doing better, so the city has some of investments paying more, so they’ll use that windfall to design and build more things.
Additional spending will be on acquiring some ravine land in west Edmonton near the Glenridding Ravine where four distinct terraces by the Whitemud Creek Ravine is needed to go with land required for a future highway penetrator along 170th street that the province is insisting on.
The South Soccer Centre, run by the Edmonton Soccer Association, is also due for upgrades. “The project will allow soccer to grow, add coaching and referee clinics, expand the number of tryouts, and offer significantly expanded practice hours for teams,” the report said. “The project will allow ball hockey to operate a winter program from 2018 using two concrete fields instead of one, which will significantly increase their winter program and increase availability for other groups like in-line and lacrosse.”
The cost is will be covered with Edmonton Soccer repaying $9.5 million over a 20-year repayment plan.
The Supplemental Capital Budget Adjustment also includes road upgrades and the installation of signal lights that are recommended by the Office of Traffic Safety.
Meanwhile, city staff have recommended a quarter century long upgrade program to fix up the back alleys across Edmonton. Of two options for city council to consider, the city is recommending the cheaper one.
Cheaper, but not necessarily cheap. It’s the difference between spending $18.4 million a year for 25 years, or $20 million. A ramping up of taxes over three years starting in 2019 by fractions of a percentage point would make the cumulative increase 1.08 per cent.
What they’re aiming for is right now the majority of the alleys in the city are in poor condition. When this is over in 2043, only ten percent would be considered poor. Had they gone for the more expensive option, then that would have meant only five per cent would get a poor rating.
to read the reports from the May 9 council meeting click here