Victoria councillors will be asked to approve $5.3 million in capital projects this week in advance of the annual city budget process. Everything from repairs to the Dallas Road seawall to improvements to Vic West Park is on the table.
Coun. Chris Coleman said most of the items on the list have already been before council. “They are [mostly] projects that we’ve already gone through and said we need to get on with. Particularly as the bulk of them are around stormwater and sewer.
“The recent floods that we’ve seen in those areas tend to suggest we should have been getting on with them before.”
The city’s budget won’t be approved until April. Early approval of the capital projects is needed so city staff can get on with the work, said director of finance Suzanne Thompson.
Included in the projects up for consideration are:
• $1 million for converting city street lamps to LED
• $800,000 for improvements to Vic West Park
• $500,000 for stabilization work on the Dallas Road seawall
• $235,000 for a new special-events ice covering for Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre
• $1.12 million for road projects
• $800,000 for lining of sanitary and storm sewer pipes
• $150,000 for Beacon Hill Park lighting
• $150,000 for a Crystal Pool feasibility study
Converting city street lamps to LED — light-emitting diode — is expected to save money. The financial plan notes that while energy consumption from street lamps has remained relatively constant — increasing 1.2 per cent since 2010 — energy costs associated with streetlights have increased about 28 per cent because of B.C. Hydro rate increases.
“The transition from HPS [high pressure sodium] to LED technology is estimated to realize significant energy consumption savings, thereby directly reducing electricity expenses,” says the draft financial plan. The life of a standard HPS streetlight is about four years, compared to 15 for LED. B.C. Hydro also offers a rebate program that will cut costs.
Work has been underway to stabilize the Dallas Road seawall for a couple of years. According to city staff, the worst sections were repaired in 2014 and work is forecast to be completed in 2017.
The financial report says the project was originally anticipated to be complete in 2016, but as sections of the wall were opened up, it became clear the whole wall needed to be resurfaced. Extending the project to 2017 means an additional cost of $100,000 for the 2016 budget and $600,000 for the 2017 budget.
The existing ice cover used during special events at Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre is failing and needs to be replaced. Staff are recommending buying a replacement covering with an estimated 20-year life at a cost of $200,000.
In Vic West Park, $500,000 worth of improvements is planned to the skate park; $260,000 in upgrades to the playground and $40,000 for fencing for the off-leash area.
The $150,000 for Crystal Pool is to conduct a needs assessment and feasibility study on how to best revitalize the more-than-40-year-old facility. The goal of the assessment is to look at what the community wants, as well as issues such as design, site and projected operating and capital costs.