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New projects staked out in city amendments to financial plan

City council approved changes to the five-year plan, including allocating funds to Nelson Hydro for its ramped up power pole replacement project.

Nearly $250,000 in amendments has been made to the city’s financial plan.

City council has approved six changes to the five-year plan, including an extra $122,000 allocated to Nelson Hydro for its ramped up power pole replacement project.

Although the Five Year Financial Plan Bylaw (2019-2023) was adopted by council in May of last year, a few unbudgeted or changes to capital and operating projects have arisen since then, Nelson chief financial officer Colin McClure explained in his report to council.

“These changes were reported to and subsequently authorized by council,” he said, adding that they needed to be reflected through an amendment to the plan.

“The proposed changes will allow the city to complete the project without the need to borrow.”

The cash infusion will augment the nearly $1.8 million that Telus is contributing to Project Falcon, with the intent to replace an estimated 600 hydro poles — as well as a small copper wire upgrade project — related to the Telus fiber network.

The final cost for pole replacement on this project is expected to be $2,540,349, which is about $500,000 more than when first presented to council last year, noted Alex Love, Nelson Hydro general manager.

However, with the contribution from Telus towards the project now being $1.8 million, the additional cost allocated to Nelson Hydro is only $122,000 for a “significant upgrade” to the utility’s distribution system, he added.

“It is important to note that doing so many pole replacements in one year will reduce the pole replacement budget previously planned by $600,000 over the next five years,” Love explained.

He added that the $300,000 project to replace small copper line is proceeding as expected.

As a result, one other significant change presented to council was the decision for deferring $698,000 in concrete work at the city-owned Bonnington power plant planned for 2019 into 2020, McClure said.

Of the other changes to the financial plan, the city has approved a $25,000 grant to the 2020 Nelson and District Arts Council mural festival, and a similar grant allocated from the Airport Reserve to fund an airport runway analysis and operational improvement, based on recommendations noted in the WSP Aviation report delivered to council late last year.

The future is also looking brighter as the downtown lighting project received a boost of $14,000, allowing the city to install holiday and decorative lighting on the remaining blocks of Baker Street that did not have lights on the trees.

“It was noted that the 2019 $30,000 budget for decorative lighting was not sufficient to cover the cost of the proposed plan,” said McClure.

To assist in funding the next step in the holiday lighting project, the city will contribute $8,000 in funding coming from the downtown waterfront reserve and $6,000 from the Spurway trust.

The city will also be putting its money where its mouth is with a $17,500 contribution to the regional housing needs assessment.

In partnering with the regional district to develop the report, the city will be meeting the new provincial requirements for “such reports.”

The city’s contribution to the assessment is to be funded from the Affordable Housing deferred revenue.

With an eye toward maintaining and enhancing the city-owned waterfront airport, chief administrative officer Kevin Cormack said the city needed to take advantage of a one-time opportunity to do a patch on the depressions on the airport runway.

“Due to the paving company already working on paving outside of a new hangar at the airport and their willingness to support the city, they offered to do the work for a significantly lower price than was anticipated,” said McClure.

“Although this is a change in direction of not doing the patch until a complete analysis of the runway pavement was completed, which was communicated to council at the Oct. 21 regular meeting, the airport pavement analysis will still be valuable in understanding the overall condition and potential future cost of larger improvements.”

Cormack had explained that the paving project was significant in it immediately resolved what was perceived as a safety concern for airport users.

The cost of the patch is expected to be $40,000 and will be funded from the airport reserve.