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Council goes ahead with $32 million borrowing plan

Mayor Lyn Hall was unapologetic Monday on the city’s move to borrow up to $32 million for 11 capital projects.

“I stand firm on the infrastructure needs of this community, and I’ll continue to work for it,” he said at Monday’s council meeting. “You can disagree and I’m fine with that, I’m open to those conversations. But to continue to ignore what’s going from an infrastructure perspective in this city, I can’t do it. I can not do it … We are playing catch-up, we do have an aggressive plan.”

A citizen-led movement seeking to de-rail the borrowing plan through the alternative approval process came up well short of the required 5,546 signatures on all 11 projects. On Monday council gave the final reading to a bylaw authorizing the borrowing.

Coun. Brian Skakun was the lone dissenting voice. With the counter-petitions garnering from a low of 2,756 signatures (Domano and St. Lawrence signalization) to a high of 2,967 (Ron Brent Park redevelopment) Skakun said he can’t ignore the results. He added that with the recent referendum to borrow money for the Four Seasons Pool replacement and to replace Firehall #1, residents are seeing too much of a tax increase.

The rest of council, however, wasn’t swayed by the argument and while the message of close to 3,000 signatures on each project was received, it simply wasn’t enough for council to change its plans.

Council will now proceed with the following projects:

  • $10,205,000 for repairs and upgrades to the Aquatic Centre including the building envelope
  • $5,000,000 to replace critical street lights and traffic signals
  • $4,670,450 to replace roofs at aging civic facilities such as the SPCA, 1310 3rd Avenue, City Yard mechanical bay, Kin 2, Kin 3, Two Rivers Gallery, Agriplex, Civic Centre, Senior’s Activity Centre, and CN Centre.
  • $2,919,583 for the replacement of City vehicles and equipment
  • $2,701,000 for repairs and upgrades to Masich Place Stadium
  • $1,675,000 to further redevelop Ron Brent Park
  • $1,400,000 to expand the mausoleum at the Memorial Park Cemetery
  • $1,200,000 for 14th Avenue Upgrades (Irwin Street to Freeman Street)
  • $1,100,000 to replace a failing culvert on Goose Country Road
  • $800,000 for the Highway 16 West Frontage-Heyer Road to Henry Road Project
  • $500,000 for new traffic signals at the Domano and St. Lawrence intersection