On Tuesday (July 11) the Revelstoke City Council approved a plan to rearrange its funding to ensure that the School Safety Project goes ahead.
The school safety project started back in 2017. The Director of Engineering at the time received letters expressing concern over the safety of the pedestrian access to Columbia Park and Arrow Heights Elementary. In response, the City proposed building two sidewalks along both sides of the road. This week, the City Council established a budget for the project.
Based on an assessment from early last year, the project was estimated to cost $2,232,500. Not wanting to dip into long-term debt near the end of its term, the last city council postponed approving the budget for the project until this year.
The engineering department revisited the project this year with a reduced scope to accommodate a lower price tag for the project, ensuring that it could be completed without entering long-term debt. The smaller scope reduced the project to building one sidewalk along one side of the street near both schools.
By the time the contractor estimates came back this year for the revised project, the contractor prices had ballooned to $2.3 million, but the City managed to approve a budget that will accommodate the cost.
Combining a $1.5 million city budget contribution with a more than $200,000 contribution for sewage work –which the city will do when the area is torn up for construction– the final shortfall of $600,000 will be covered by the Community Building Fund.
The Community Building Fund is based on a 10-year program with the federal government that started in 2014 to provide money for community infrastructure projects. Director of Finance, Sheanna Moore, spoke about the fund at the meeting.
“We’re coming up to the end of that program in 2024 with the federal government. It may be extended, however, at the moment we are not sure, and they are expecting us to spend our funds by the end of 2024,” said Moore.
The remaining $600,000 needed from the school safety project will be a large portion of the Community Building Fund, which has $800,000 in it.