Just ran into park-board commissioner Ian Robertson here at the Non-Partisan Association meeting, who said park board members got a briefing Monday night with the latest thinking on what should be included in the capital plan. They heard that the Trout Lake centre replacement’s estimated construction cost is now up to $23 million from $20 million.
But park board general manager Susan Mundick also said the tax impact for that construction, which gets spread out over more than two decades as a capital project, is relatively low. So Robertson fully expects that his NPA colleagues at city council are going to put the Trout Lake community centre back into the city’s capital plan for 2009-2011 next week, when they vote, without having to drop anything else. That’s an update from what mayoral hopeful Peter Ladner told me last week. He said he didn’t know what was going to happen exactly because he was waiting for staff to tell him what would have to be dropped in order to put Trout Lake back on the funding list. Now it looks like it won’t have to be anything. (Amazing what you can do with numbers when you’re really determined.)
Robertson said the planning money, $100,000 each, is also included in the plan for the next community centres on the list, Marpole and Hastings.
But, for those who have called to ask, it doesn’t mean everyone should stay home on Monday night (the public-delegation night on the capital plan) and count on councillors to do the right thing. Best to show up and thank them profusely in advance, making it awkward to back out and convincing councillors that they are really doing what the community wants.
For those who need the Cole’s Notes on capital plans and community centres: Every three years, at election time, city staff come up with recommendations on what money the city should borrow to carry out major construction projects. That’s different money from the regular operating budget. Once that list is decided on, the public votes during the civic election on whether to let them do that borrowing. Usually, it’s divided into categories on the ballot: Do you agree to having the city spend X amount on streets, on park facilities, on this, on that. Most of the time, those questions easily get support although last time, there was a noticeable difference in the number of yes votes between Olympic projects and other capital spending. A lot of grumpy people were not in favour of the Olympics-project spending.