St. Albert is delaying some capital projects to help handle the COVID-19 financial crunch the city has been put under.
Dawny George, director of engineering at the City of St. Albert, presented a plan to council to delay some projects to either later this year or 2021 to help alleviate financial pressure from the pandemic.
Council passed the recommendations unanimously and Councillor Wes Brodhead said the plan was straightforward.
‘It's a plan ... to address our capital expenditures in light of the COVID issues that we're facing,” Brodhead said.
City administration looked at 25 capital and utilities and environment projects and recommended proceeding with 12 capital projects, totalling $21.5 million, as well as three utility projects for a total of $517,500.
Council approved the deferral of five municipal capital projects, with a total budget of $17 million to Sept. 30, at which time they will be reassessed for continuance. Four other municipal capital projects, with a total budget of $1.1 million, have been pushed to 2021, along with one utility capital project budgeted at $268,000.
George said administration is acting on orders from council to try to balance cash flows while still ensuring service are met.
The projects include land acquisition for Fire Hall 4, accessibilities initiatives in city buildings, building life cycle assessment and Kingsmead park concept planning design and construction. Fire Hall 1 construction will also go forward as construction is anticipated to start in September and the design is almost complete. The fire hall has a price tag of $14 million.
The city will be delaying the assessment of Fire Station 4 construction until Sept. 30 of this year, with a price tag of $16.3 million. The city is currently in discussions over land acquisition and will require land funding to continue with the project, which was recommended by administration. The remaining design and construction costs were not slated to occur this year.
“The project team is looking at an alternate way of providing a design and potentially much reduced scope of providing a fire hall so all we are doing is pushing back to September,” George said, adding additional information will come in front of council in September.
Jennifer Henderson covers Alberta matters under the Local Journalism Initiative, which is funded by the Government of Canada.