City council has approved an “ambitious” capital plan with more than $19 million in projects for 2016.
It includes an annual contribution to the city’s new Public Art Committee as well as $25,000 to replace the iconic Logger Mike statue near Spirit Square with a replica.
During Tuesday’s budget planning session, Mayor Andy Adams questioned whether the amount of projects scheduled for 2016 was doable.
“When I look at the overall capital plan I can’t help but see it as extremely ambitious. Are we actually going to be able to do everything that’s planned?” Adams asked. “Do we have the capacity and the resources to do these?”
City staff assured Adams it was doable, though they agreed it is an ambitious plan.
“It’s certainly not a knock on staff and the great work they’ve done,” Adams said to staff. “I’m just trying to look out for you guys and make sure you’re not swamped.”
To help pay for all of the work, the capital plan contains a new 0.75 per cent tax increase proposed to be an annual component of the capital plan, which is mostly funded by various city reserve – or savings – accounts. That 0.75 per cent generates an additional $190,000 in revenue annually for the city.
In return, taxpayers may see significant improvements to several city assets in the coming years, particularly at Robert Ostler Park.
Council approved spending $400,000 to improve the Seagull Walkway which is adjacent to the park and also approved $400,000 for re-design plans for Robert Ostler Park and then an additional $839,000 in 2017 for construction of the re-design. Council will also spend $100,000 to replace the playground equipment at the park. The entire project involves replacement of the rip rap on the park’s foreshore and other improvements including upgrading the drainage system, and possibly re-configuring the north entrance to the park and Quadra ferry terminal, and resurfacing the park with new sod.
The 2016 capital plan also contains $35,000 for a re-design plan for Frank James Park in Willow Point, as well as $175,000 for an expansion to the Elk Falls Cemetery on Highway 28 and $1 million for the upgrades to the Big Rock Boat Ramp – a project that includes a new ramp with a six metre extension, a new breakwater toe, accessible picnic tables, washrooms and improvements to the gravel parking lot.