LETHBRIDGE - Another 18 unfunded community projects went through the Capital Improvement Program (CIP) process Thursday (May 18), during the fourth day of deliberations.
Lethbridge City Council, sitting as finance committee with Councillor Liz Iwaskiw as chair, has just three projects left to debate on Friday (May 19), starting at 9:00 a.m. Residents are welcome to attend the final meeting at City Hall, or watch the live stream online. The draft document with detailed project sheets (referenced below with project numbers) is available on the City of Lethbridge website.
Finance committee has used this week (May 15-19) to prepare the first four years of the 2018-2027 CIP, which could be forwarded to Council as early as next Tuesday (May 23) for final approval.
There is more than $62-million in unrestricted funds over the entire 10-year context to finance unfunded projects. But $51.7-million is available within the next four-year window that current Council members will be approving (shown in chart above).
However, Garth Sherwin, city manager, explained during the first CIP meeting (May 15) that the provincial Municipal Sustainability Initiative (MSI) will be coming to an end around 2021.
This draft budget is being prepared under the assumption that a replacement program will be introduced by the provincial government for 2022-2027 at current funding levels. When MSI replacement "shadow funding" is used for projects in those years, a subsequent council will be responsible for approving and committing to those projects once an announcement for a replacement program has been made.
The following 12 projects were added to the draft 2018-2027 CIP during Thursday’s (May 18) debates:
- $9.03-million in 2018 for 3 Avenue South reconstruction from 4 Street to 8 Street (project D-31);
- $273,000 in 2018 for planning and $2.567-million in 2019 to construct a multi-purpose community facility at the Nikka Yuko Japanese Gardens (project D-32);
- $208,000 in the first four years for heating, ventilation and air conditioning upgrades and $725,000 in “shadow funding” for the remaining expansion costs at the Crossings library in 2022 (project D-34);
- $6.6-million in 2019 to add amenities at Legacy Park (project D-35);
- $9.03-million in “shadow funding” to relocate fire station three to 16 Avenue South and create a 911 back up to start in 2022 (project D-36);
- $1.754-million in 2018, $4.095-million in 2019 and $3.951-million in 2020 to build a new fire station in the southern end of the city’s west side (project D- 37);
- $9.8-million in “shadow funding” for Yates Memorial Centre enhancements to start in 2022 (project D-40);
- $300,000 in 2018 for a concept design and $1.9-million in 2022 to carry out a 3 Avenue South beautification from Stafford Drive to Mayor Magrath Drive (project D-41);
- $1-million to begin 4 Avenue South enhancements from 5 Street to 7 Street in 2019, with patio bump outs available throughout the downtown (project D-42);
- $30-million in “shadow funding” to replace the Civic and Adams ice centres with a twin arena starting in 2024 (project D-45);
- $2.2-million in “shadow funding” to plan and build an administrative building at the Royal View Memorial cemetery starting in 2025 (project D-46); and
- $240,000 in 2018 for planning and $2.46-million in 2019 for multiple enhancements at the Southern Alberta Art Gallery (SAAG) (project D-47).
A $425,000 multi-use sports court in the Fairmont neighbourhood (project D-30) was swiftly defeated at the start of the meeting by a 4-4 vote. Councillor Blaine Hyggen recused himself from the decision noting that he lives in the area.
The highly criticized $3.35-million Whoop Up Drive cycle escalator (project D-33) was unanimously defeated by Council members -- including Councillor Jeff Coffman who sponsored the project -- in a comically fast decision. A $1.3-million proposal to put up four downtown gateways (project D-38) and several community gateways at Lethbridge’s major entrances (project D-39) for a total of $1.9-million were also voted down.
The final two projects that didn’t make it into the draft 2018-2027 CIP were a 5 Street South reconstruction from 1 Avenue to 6 Avenue (project D-43) for a total cost of $12.6-million, and $5-million for two multi-sport all weather fields (project D-44).
As noted a number of times throughout Wednesday’s (May 17) meeting, any project can be brought back to the table before the final budget is approved by Council.
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