City eyes $124.4 million in capital projects

After deferring nearly $80 million worth of capital projects in 2010, the City of Victoria plans to shell out shell out $124.4 million this year.

Many of the spending items from last year’s budget have reappeared this year, and the delays bring hefty price increases.

The cost of the Dallas Road seawall balustrade repair was estimated at $525,000 last year, but is now pegged at $748,000.

Likewise, Pandora Green landscaping was originally pegged at $110,000 last year, and later upped to $250,00. This year, the price estimate jumped again to $510,000. Council is expected to look at options to reduce costs this month.

Also postponed is the long-awaited park acquisition for Burnside Gorge neighbourhood. The $2 million allottment hasn’t changed over a year of planning.

And, or course, there’s the Johnson Street Bridge. The city budgeted $63 million for the project last year, but a promised referendum pushed the spending (now estimated at $77 million) to this year.

“The costing for the project per year of construction is being finalized,” said city spokesperson Katie Josephson. “Once confirmed, the budget will be changed to reflect what will be expended in each year of construction.”

City council approved the draft capital plan for 2011-2030 in mid January.

More than $10 million of this year’s capital budget has been earmarked for projects underground, largely due to 100-year-old storm and sewer pipes in need of repair or replacement.

Also keep watch for these projects throughout 2011:

n Customer service improvements and inquiry centre: $2.5 million

n Ross Bay Cemetery perimeter hedges, fencing and gates: $1.5 million (two-year project totalling $3 million)

n Cantilevered bike/pedestrian path across Point Ellice Bridge: $3 million

n New urinal installation downtown: $163,000.

n Upgrades to city-owned parkades: $1.8 million (three-year initiative totalling $5.2 million)

n New full-time energy co-ordinator position: $127,000.

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