DAN CEARNS, The Standard
KAWARTHA LAKES: City of Kawartha Lakes council deliberated and approved the 2023 capital budget, at a meeting on Tuesday, February 14th.
The budget totals $57.7 million, including a $26.6 million investment in roads and bridges projects.
"I'm pleased, our new Council has passed its first Capital Budget, and it is within about three percent of the Long-Term Financial Plan (LTFP) forecasts. This is commendable, given the current economic climate and given we are still recovering from the challenges of the pandemic. Council can assure residents we're looking after the municipality's assets, while working towards ever improving the condition of our roads in a prudent fashion," read a statement from Mayor Doug Elmslie.
During discussions, councillors added several projects to the budget, including purchasing a sandbagging machine at the cost of $40,000, a $293,000 project to resurface Coldstream Road and Grey Wood Drive, and $100,000 for a servicing study and design for a splash pad in Omemee.
"We have got to be united as a City, and this is a great community project to get behind," Ward 1 Councillor Emmett Yeo said, regarding the Omemee splash pad project.
Mayor Elmslie agreed with Councillor Yeo.
"I think this would be a great project for Omemee. I think Omemee is a growing community, and it's something they need to complement their beach park, and I speak in favour of doing it."
However, one project which did not receive approval for this year's budget was $75,000 for the creation of a pump park in Little Britain. A pump park is defined as "a circuit of rollers, banked turns and features, designed to be ridden completely by riders' pumping, generating momentum by up and down body movements, instead of pedalling or pushing."
Community Services Director, Craig Shanks explained, due to the city looking at placing a pump park in Pontypool, this pump park project is "not required."
Ward 6 Councillor, Ron Ashmore questioned if it was possible for the former Ops Arena to be saved rather than demolished.
"The cost to renovate and rehabilitate that facility is significant," Director Shanks responded. "It is not usable, various portions of the facility are not usable, and some we can't even enter. The potential is there, but it would be in a potential rebuild if the City chose to move in [that direction]."
Deliberations on the remaining budgets, including the operating budget, special projects budget and the water and wastewater budget, will be held on Tuesday, February 28th.