With the majority of St. Albert’s municipal capital growth projects postponed to 2019, it is worth taking a closer look at some of the items in the budget for this year and those postponed for future years.
City councillors on Dec. 18 ultimately approved $7.8 million of the $22.3 million in municipal capital growth funding originally required for all the projects expected in 2018.
The $14.5-million difference will help to offset next year’s capital funding deficit, topping off the city’s repair, maintenance and replacement (RMR) budget and providing some funding for next year’s growth projects.
The 10-year capital plan councillors approved on Dec. 18 now includes an expected $42.4 million in growth projects in 2019 as well as $35.5 million for RMR. While projected RMR costs drop off in 2020 to $21.2 million, growth needs soar to $63 million.
Those numbers will likely change as councillors draw closer to the 2019 and 2020 budget deliberations.
Funded: Traffic calming measures
One funding pot councillors left in place for 2018’s municipal capital growth is $921,500 for neighbourhood traffic calming strategies, such as the contentious curb extensions that have been installed in Akinsdale and Grandin.
The 10-year capital plan includes funding ranging from $745,500 to $1,025,200 every year for neighbourhood traffic calming.
In 2018, work will tentatively begin in Erin Ridge and Erin Ridge North, as well as along Lennox Drive in the Lacombe neighbourhood.
Between 2018 and 2027, other areas slated for traffic calming include the neighbourhoods of North Ridge, Sturgeon, Oakmont, Heritage Lakes and Kingswood.
City council also funded $606,300 in 2018 for Safe Journeys To School, with pedestrian improvements tentatively scheduled for Sir George Simpson and Albert Lacombe schools.
Funded: Park trails
Red Willow Park West, in the area of Meadowview Drive, could see future improvements after councillors funded $359,200 to design a trail connection that will provide access to the Red Willow Park corridor.
Councillors will decide next year whether to complement that funding by an additional $4.4 million to complete the work.
There is also $205,800 in the budget for a detailed design of park and trail construction in Grey Nuns White Spruce Park. In 2019, city council will need to approve $1.9 million to allow construction to go ahead.
Workers will also begin the fifth phase of construction at Riel Park, which will involve trail development, landscaping, signage and a bus turnaround at Rotary Park. Those improvements constitute the largest single investment in the 2018 municipal growth capital budget, requiring $1,585,800.
Of the nine projects appearing in the 10-year capital plan under the Downtown Area Revitalization Plan, none are being funded for 2018.
That includes three projects city staff suggested be postponed to 2019: $771,900 for Millennium Park, $644,300 for Perron Street pedestrian improvements and $114,400 for the Taché Street Green Corridor.
Those three projects will be on the table again for 2019, along with a $2.3-million public parking project and $572,000 for cultural and market buildings.
Unfunded: Facility expansions
Preliminary work on a sixth arena ice surface, a fitness expansion and an aquatics expansion have been postponed until 2019. Those projects, all related to Servus Place, will be up for consideration for funding in 2019.
Each comes with a hefty future price tag ranging from $5.3 million for the fitness expansion to more than $20 million for the ice surface. The aquatics expansion would require $12.5 million in 2020 if approved in 2019.