My column this month is an update on the over $6 million in major capital projects included in our 2017 budget. The majority of Sechelt’s 2017 capital projects are funded from reserves, which are akin to savings accounts. The District regularly contributes funds into reserves, from taxes, grants or sources such as Development Cost Charges. In 2017, Sechelt is allocating approximately half of the funds being raised by the change in District’s property tax levy to our community’s Capital Infrastructure Renewal Reserve. These funds are slated to be re-invested in our community to help pay for construction and improvement projects identified in our 2017-2021 Financial Plan.
The largest 2017 capital project, and one that has been on Council’s radar since the beginning of our term, will be construction of an Operations Centre for our Public Works and Parks Departments. There are 17 staff members in these departments who use a variety of heavy equipment to provide a range of service for our community. These include local roads and drainage maintenance; and, keeping our parks, trails and playing fields safe to use and looking great. When the Water Resource Centre was located on the Ebbtide Works Yard, construction activities displaced the former aging Public Works and Parks facilities. Those departments were moved to a temporary location on District owned property on Dusty Road. That location is centrally located within our community – a key consideration as these departments provide on-site services to every corner of the municipality. Staff developed a plan for a new permanent facility on the same site. While the final design has not yet been finalized, it is estimated that a new facility will cost in the range of $2 million. The final cost for this project will be funded with $968,000 coming from reserves and borrowing for a 20 year ‘mortgage’ for the remainder.
Planning for this project is proceeding. The District will receive the landscape design and layout for the site shortly. In addition, an updated facility design and cost estimate will be reviewed to ensure the proposed facility addresses the community’s needs and creates an efficient and safe working environment. Another important consideration will be how well it fits within the District’s financial means. Following those steps, design finalization and a Development Permit application will be undertaken. It is anticipated that construction of the facility will commence near the end of this year and continue into 2018.
A wide variety of smaller capital and capital planning projects are also scheduled for 2017. These include additional sports field lighting at Kinnikinnick Park; resurfacing trails at West Sechelt’s Walter Burtnick Park; road safety improvements on Trail Avenue; upgrading our wastewater outfall; as well as planning for a gazebo/music pavilion at Mission Point Park and for the safe re-installation of the float at the Davis Bay wharf. The full capital budget can be viewed on Sechelt.ca. Updates on the progress of our capital plan are part of our monthly Public Works, Parks and Environment Committee meetings.