City council to debate capital budget next week

  • Nov. 18, 2015 4:11 p.m.

Red Deer City council will enter deliberations for the 2016 capital budget next Tuesday.

The capital budget review begins at 9 a.m. on Nov. 24th in Council Chambers.

A $161 million budget will be considered by council for 2016. Council will also consider the 2017-2025 capital plan valued at $1.38 billion.

“We developed this upcoming budget with the understanding there is some economic uncertainty, namely long-term provincial and federal funding which both play a major role in our capital project reality,” said City Manager Craig Curtis. “The 2016 capital budget did not see a major increase overall compared to 2015 as per council’s guidelines.”

In 2015, Red Deer reached more than 100,000 citizens. With this growth, needs change, and these ever-changing needs are reflected through multiple projects in the upcoming budget and capital plan, Curtis added. “The range of needs are incorporated into the projects being proposed which ensures our foundational infrastructure is sustained, new projects are being considered in current and future growth areas, and new amenities that Red Deerians want become a reality.”

With Red Deer being the next largest urban municipality to the major metro areas of Calgary and Edmonton, it is important to focus on sustainability planning and building the City’s future through council’s vision, said Curtis.

“We know that the larger centres are facing major infrastructure issues and they require funding, but we are taking a proactive approach to ensure that as we grow, we stay on top of potential issues and our capital budget reflects this,” he added. “We need to position ourselves to ensure we receive our fair share of provincial and federal funding.”

On Nov. 24th, council will consider the recommended projects in the 2016 capital budget, multi-year projects with start dates in 2016 and projects from 2015 in need of additional funding. Council will also have the opportunity to approve the 2017-2025 capital plan in principle giving administration the ability to plan future projects while providing the flexibility to adjust projects based on community needs and funding sources.

Some of the major projects that council will discuss include enhancements at Great Chief Park in preparation of the 2019 Canada Winter Games. Proposed enhancements include construction of a patio area for the existing concession, installation of artificial turf to provide a longer playing season and enhanced level of service for football, construction of a national level long track speed skating oval and construction of a spectator/athletes’ building that includes change rooms, meeting/flexible space and a media tower. These proposed enhancements are pegged at $3 million.

Council will also consider additional funding for the relocation of Emergency Services Station 3 and Station 4. Previous approvals were given for the relocation of the stations, which will see Station 3 located on the northeast corner of Lees Street and 30th Ave. and Station 4, which is currently located in Deer Park, move to Timberlands. Additional funding of $1.6 million for Station 3 and $1.1 million for Station 4 will be considered.

Another item up for approval is preservation of the CPR pedestrian bridge. The capital request of $255,000 will be used for repairs and $3.4 million will be used to remove the lead paint and re-coat the bridge.

The Memorial Centre preservation project is also up for approval. Council will be asked to approve $1.08 million in 2016 and $1.1 million in 2017.

Council will also consider a proposed riverwalk in the Riverlands District. City officials have said the Riverwalk is a critical piece of the overall development of the Riverlands District and is at the connection point of Alexander Way, Riverland’s main street and the Red Deer River. Council will consider $1.7 million for the Riverwalk project.

Enhancements and preservation to the River Bend Recreation Area are also items in next year’s capital budget. Council will be asked to look at approving $3.5 million of enhancement work such as parking lot expansion and revitalizing Discovery Canyon as well as $2.1 million of preservation work to the area.

Another item up for council approval is improvements on transportation throughout the City. Council will consider $5.1 million for Phase 3 of Alexander Way, $12.2 million for southeast sector transportation improvements, $7.6 million for crown paving, $6.6 million for 67th St. corridor improvements and $5.7 million for roadway reconstruction.

Previously approved capital projects that will continue through next year include the Red Deer Arena replacement. Construction of the new arena is slated to begin in 2016 and wrap up in 2018. The Gary W. Harris Centre for Health, Wellness and Sport is another previously approved project. Located at Red Deer College, through tri-party agreement with the City, the Canada Winter Games Host Society and RDC, a contribution will be made to the College over a 10-year period totalling $11.5 million. Initial work on the site has begun and construction is expected to begin in early 2016.

The Red Deer Airport Expansion Project was also previously approved. The project will include expansion of the runway which will allow larger aircraft to land. The project will cost $9.5 million with funding provided by the City and the County who will each contribute $1.75 million and the provincial government who will contribute $6 million over three years.

efawcett@reddeerexpress.com

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