City goes ahead with turf field

The $2.6 million project is budgeted for this year and will be paid for out of parks reserve funding and the federal gas tax

In approving its 2015-2019 financial plan, city council has budgeted for several new community projects.

Topping the $15.7 million capital plan is a new artificial turf for Robron Park.

The $2.6 million project is budgeted for this year and will be paid for out of parks reserve funding and the federal gas tax.

“This will be done from reserves and other sources of revenue, rather than taxation,” said Mayor Andy Adams of the big ticket item.

Council also approved foreshore and Robert Ostler Park upgrades for $1 million, to be funded by the federal gas tax monies and the Community Works Fund.

Ross Milnthorp, the city’s general manager of parks, recreation and culture told council last week during budget planning that the funding will go towards rectifying drainage and irrigation issues that have been identified at Ostler Park.

“Drainage work would essentially involve tearing up the park to improve the drainage there,” Milnthorp said. “We would resurface Ostler Park.”

Other items capital items approved by council (which will be paid for through reserves and grants rather than taxation) include: a new city water drinking system for $4.2 million (with funding support from BC Hydro), Norm Wood Environmental Centre upgrades for $2.5 million, a new fire ladder truck for $1.1 million, an airport fueling facility for $740,000 and a new emergency generator for $200,000.

Council also approved spending $35,000 from reserves for Elk Falls Cemetery expansion design work in 2015. Construction worth $175,000 is in the budget for 2016.

Council finalized its $62 million operating budget for 2015 last Wednesday with a 1.69 per cent residential property tax increase which equates to a $24 increase for the average Campbell River home, valued at $264,200.

In comparison, the Canadian Consumer Price Index rates inflation at 2.1 per cent.

Properties in the Managed Forest Lands tax class will continue to see an increase phased in over three years (started in 2014) that will generate $46,000 this year. The Utilities tax class rate will also increase (phased in over four years, started in 2014), that will generate $138,000 in 2015.

An additional $340,000 in property tax revenue will come from new building and development in the community.

Last year, the average home paid $186 in taxes for city services including drinking water, sewer service, emergency response, garbage and recycling pick up, roads, parks, transit and airport.

The city has until May 15 to present its final 2015 budget to the province. Property taxes will be due by July 2.