So what can you get for 800-grand in Prince George?
If you’re in the private sector, you can get one of the nicest houses in town (above, right). This 4,460-square-foot southern-facing gem, less than five years old, sits on four acres just a stone’s throw from the Otway Nordic Centre. It has “high gloss white cabinets and white Corian countertop with glass accent backsplash. Walk-in pantry and main floor laundry. Spacious master has a delicious spa like en suite and walk-in closet. The walk-out basement also has high ceilings and is spectacularly finished to include a games room, bar, bedroom and another bathroom.”
It is currently listed for $799,000.
If you’re in the public sector, however, for close to $800K you can get a concrete and steel pole barn that comes with an awning-style roof, and concrete picnic tables (above, left). Estimated cost - $779,000.
Wow, what a deal.
Don’t get me wrong. I think the new pavilion for Lheidli T’enneh Memorial Park is great. The picnic area needs upgrading and the new pavilion will, undoubtedly, be super.
But does it really need to cost $779,000?
I bet if the city went to the Canadian Homebuilders of Association of Northern BC they could whip something up just as nice for a fraction of the cost. But no, it’s a taxpayer-funded picnic shelter so we need an architect, probably a few engineers, a consultant or two, and maybe a study for good measure and a customer with deep pockets who accepts all these things as normal.
The city, of course, will argue Ottawa is picking up half the cost, up to $377,000. In fact, the press release only mentions Ottawa’s $377,000, as does the city’s social media promotions so, at first blush, it looks like it’s a $377,000 project. It isn’t, the city must match the federal dollars. (The province is also kicking in $25,000.)
But that’s not the point. The point is a new pavilion shouldn’t cost $779,000 and if it does, then perhaps we don’t need it or, better yet, find an alternative.
Rather than focus on the outrageous cost, the city instead focuses on the fact that Ottawa is picking up half the cost, as if that somehow makes this a great deal. It doesn’t because taxpayers are still footing the bill.