Two significant projects bound to get big attention in Coun. Cecil Villard’s address
© Guardian photo by Gary MacDougall
Charlottetown City Hall
Water and sewer is expected to once again take centre stage when the City of Charlottetown brings down its annual budget.
Coun. Cecil Villard, chairman of administrative services, is scheduled to deliver the city’s financial plan for the next year today at noon at City Hall.
There are two significant projects ongoing in the P.E.I. capital that are bound to get big attention in the budget address — the final phases of the Spring Park sanitary and storm water separation project and the creation of a new water source in Miltonvale.
The separation project is entering the home stretch.
Water and sewer utility chairman Eddie Rice expects the city will have the project completed by late this year or very soon into 2015.
The city still has to tear into University Avenue to complete the project but due to the attention the 150th anniversary celebrations are getting this year the provincial government does not want to see tourists looking at major sewer construction project on one of the most prominent streets in the capital.
There should also be some money in the budget to move along on the new water source, a multimillion-dollar project that will, when it’s completed, take some of the pressure of the Winter River-Tracadie Bay watershed, which is currently the city’s only source of water.
Another issue that has received a lot of attention in Charlottetown this past year has been stationing police officers at the city’s two high schools, Colonel Gray and Charlottetown Rural.
The city paid to have one officer in each school up until the first week of November but couldn’t afford to go any further, having spent all of the $40,000 it budgeted for 2013.
Public donations did come in from people like transit owner Mike Cassidy, Murphy’s Pharmacy owner Ray Murphy, Coun. Eddie Rice and the Y’s Men’s Club
that totalled about $20,000 but that took care of January to June only.
The city had been hoping the provincial government would make a financial contribution to keep officers in the two schools but that never materialized. Still, talks continued since then and there is speculation today’s municipal budget might have some news on that front.
Beyond that, the city still has the outstanding issue of a new fire department to deal with, still deciding whether to go with one central location.
The city hasn’t said much about the search for a new location, saying that it would affect the price of land should a specific location be made public.
In public works, there could be money for another roundabout. The city has been looking at the so-called Vogue Optical intersection as its top priority. Many people were surprised to hear of the next roundabout going to the Upton Road/arterial highway intersection but that is a provincial project and doesn’t involve the City of Charlottetown.
In parks and recreation, the city is looking at the future of both the Simmons Sport Centre and the Cody Banks Arena.
Both facilities are aging and there is some talk that something will have to be done within the next five years to address that problem. That could involve a new major arena project for Charlottetown.
The province has already announced it will move its Department of Transportation depot on Riverside Drive, leading some to speculate that a new arena project isn’t as far off as some think.
Still, that involves major dollars, not something the city wants to touch with two significant water projects to deal with first.
The city will elect a new council in November. Perhaps it will be after that talk will begin on what to do about ice surfaces in Charlottetown.