How the City of Castlegar is paying for Millennium Park

With the introduction of a new parcel tax, some have asked how the City of Castlegar can afford to spend money on Millennium Park.

Create pie charts

Create pie charts

Create pie charts



With the introduction of a new parcel tax to help pay for storm water management, some have raised questions about how the City of Castlegar can afford a shiny new park if there isn’t enough money to pay for essential infrastructure. The answer is that ultimately the City is only shouldering a small percentage of the capital cost of the park.

Phase 1 of the Millennium Park project began in 2013, centering around the development of the Millennium Ponds. The project cost the City a total of $1,888,700, but only three per cent or $63,700 of that was paid for using the City’s general funds. The majority 76 per cent or $1,425,000 was paid for by borrowing from the City’s reserve funds, which is being paid back using revenue from the Host Local Government Payments that Chances Casino pays to the City each year. That revenue amounted to $426,000 in 2013/2014 and $440,000 in 2014/2015. The remainder of Phase 1 21 per cent or $400,000 was paid for with a provincial grant.

Having said that, it’s worth noting that the City can use the Host Local Government revenue “for any purpose within their legal authority,” according to the ministry of finance’s website.

The cost for Phase 2, which broke ground on May 6, is estimated at $750,000. The project includes the expansion of the parking lot, the development of volleyball courts, pickle ball and tennis courts, and an off-leash dog park. The project also includes developments outside Millennium: four pickle ball courts at the Castlegar Community Complex and a basketball and ball hockey multi-use court at Zinio Park.

City general funds will pay for 23 per cent of the total cost $175,000 while the majority of the cost 60 per cent or $450,000 will be paid for by the Columbia Basin Trust. The remainder 17 per cent or $125,000 will be paid for by the Regional District of Central Kootenay Areas I and J.

Between the two projects 9 per cent of the costs will be paid for using the City’s general revenues, which is a relatively small portion for the City to have to pay for such a major project.

Of course there have been costs outside the two major phases of the Millennium Park project as well. A review of the City’s budgets from 2013 to 2016 (2016 amounts are obviously budgeted and not final) shows that the City expects to have spent $2,996,244 on Millennium by the end of the year with $850,000 budgeted for 2016 and $2,146,244 already spent. That includes the $2,638,700 for both phases and $133,040 for the Millennium Ponds service contract, among other expenses. The 2016 budget also outlines another $90,000 in park maintenance expenses that were not prioritized this year.

Asked why city council decided to spend money on Millennium Park, rather than using those same funds to upgrade essential infrastructure, Mayor Lawrence Chernoff replied, “City council annually allocates its budget among many priorities. These priorities follow the City’s Strategic Plan’ s Three Pillars of Infrastructure, Economic Development and Community Wellness. Under Infrastructure, for example, council has allocated funding for water system improvements including water main looping and water main replacements, major Columbia Ave. road and infrastructure improvements and storm sewer system improvements. Under the City’s Strategic Plan’s Community Wellness pillar, council has allocated funding to complete the planned Millennium Park improvements.”

“In 2016, the City has allocated $175,000 to enable receiving grants of $450,000 from Columbia Basin Trust and an additional $125,000 from the regional district. This represents a great partnership to fulfill one of council’s Strategic Plan’s main priorities,” he continued. “So, it is not a case of funding one area to the exclusion of other necessary components of our community’s future development. It is a case of city council funding infrastructure improvements and funding community recreation projects and funding other projects for economic development.”

At the end of the day, the expense has to be weighed against the benefit of the park to the community. While some Castlegar residents may feel that a $150 parcel tax outweighs their enjoyment of the park, others will feel differently.

 

Just Posted

Premier Horgan talks jobs and opportunity at Castlegar mill

Upbeat visit brings message of hope and co-operation among Kootenay forestry players

Shoreacres crash injuries two drivers seriously

Crash blocks Highway 3A for nearly two hours at suppertime

City of Castlegar cutting back on herbicide use

No more herbicides for playgrounds and green spaces.

Gas venting from tanker at Castlegar rail yard posed no danger: officials

Argon gas discharged from a CP tanker car on Friday, April 19.

Castlegar restaurant passes generous tip on to food bank

The owner of The Nineteenth restaurant decided the best place for a tip that big was those in need

VIDEO: Driver in bizarre hit-and-run at B.C. car dealership turns herself in

Police believe alcohol was a factor in incident causing estimated $15,000 in damages

‘B.C. cannot wait for action’: Top doctor urges province to decriminalize illicit drugs

Dr. Bonnie Henry says current approach in ‘war on drugs’ has criminalized and stigmatized drug users

B.C. woman, 76, challenges alcohol-screening laws after failing to give breath sample

Norma McLeod was unable to provide a sample because of her medical conditions

New report on 2017 wildfires calls for better coordination with B.C. First Nations

Tsilhqot’in National Government documents 2017 disaster and lists 33 calls to action

B.C. youth coach banned amid sexual harassment, bullying scandal: Water Polo Canada

Justin Mitchell can’t take part in Water Polo Canada events or clubs

Wilson-Raybould: Feds want to just ‘manage the problem’ of Indigenous Peoples

Former federal justice minister speaks at First Nations Justice Council meeting in B.C.

Boating incident claims life on East Kootenay lake

A young man has died after a canoe overturned in Moyie Lake early Tuesday morning

Female real estate agents warned of suspicious man in Metro Vancouver

The man requests to see homes alone with the female agent, police say

Can you put your phone down for Mother’s Day?

#DiningMode campaign encourages people to leave the phone alone while eating

Most Read