LETHBRIDGE: Finance Committee doled out most of the Capital Budget funding on Wednesday as deliberations continued.
They decided to drop the plan for a full leisure centre, which carried a price tag of $134-million. Instead they'll proceed with only an aquatics centre that will go into the Crossings Ice complex. It comes with a cost of $54-million.
Councilor Faron Ellis noted that just under $31-million is in borrowing, but that it won't mean an increase in taxes, "During this time period for this project to be built, we will have paid off city hall. So, that frees up, within the existing tax base, room to borrow internally and cover the capital costs of this borrowing."
With the project chewing up a significant portion of the total CIP budget of $68-million, Ellis also went over why they made the decision, "There's community support for a variety of these projects, but without a doubt the community has been very clear that when prioritizing this one does rise to the top, despite the support for other projects this one has the most support, not just in raw numbers also but in the diversity and broad base of the support."
The other major decision made Wednesday by the Finance Committee won't actually impact the current CIP.
They decided to put a conditional $10-million towards a performing arts centre with funding coming in the 2018 CIP.
To receive the conditional support the arts community will need to put together the other $50-million needed for the project, whether its through fundraising, provincial and federal grants or a combination of the two.
This capital budget will also include $4.5 million for additional features in
the North Regional Park when it is built. 3rd Avenue Reconstruction and Streetscaping also got the go ahead, subject to
approval of a grant application to the Building Canada Fund. This project would
improve the pedestrian environment with wider sidewalks, trees and street furniture. $2.9 million dollars was included for several upgrades to Spitz Stadium,
including washroom renovations, dugout upgrades, and improvements to the stadium
exterior and walking areas. The Enhancement project at the Yates Theatre got $8 million from the CIP, on the condition they receive an additional $6 million dollars from the Build Canada Fund. That work
will take place in 2020-21.
Henderson Lake Golf Course was shut out on their request for a new clubhouse, as was the Fish and Game Shooting Range which was looking for $18 million to
relocate. The Galt 8 Mine Society also didn't receive the funding they were looking for
to purchase the Galt 8 Mine site. Council may revisit that idea outside of the
CIP to get more information on the condition of the property.
Finance Committee only has about $34,000 remaining in available funding when they return to deliberations on Thursday. However, most of the projects have already been debated.