LETTER: Port Alberni City Council’s wants, needs don’t align with 2022 financial plan

Escalating costs of capital projects, infrastructure must take precedence, says writer

To the Editor,

As this year’s Port Alberni city budget process concludes, it is worth noting a few things.

Most notably during last year’s budget, council made a big show about putting money aside for a new pool and how important it was to start saving for its replacement. But this year, $0 dollars were put aside.

Then the city had to amend the budget twice to deal with escalating costs of projects for which it had budgeted. The public safety building had a budget last year of $325,000 for renovations. But the tendered cost ended up at $631,000 even after scope adjustments were made to bring the price down from $730,000.

Then the water line replacement on Burde Street was also budgeted last year at $350,000 but the tendered cost came in at $915,685. We have heard that rising costs, inflation, and shortages all contributed to the higher price tags for these projects.

That leaves one to wonder about the costs associated with this council’s Quay to Quay path (which is, well really, a path along the tracks and not a waterfront path as they first tried to sell).

The estimated cost for the path in 2020 was $7.2 million, but based on the previous examples of how much costs have gone up one has to wonder what the final price tag will be. It could easily be millions over the original budgeted number.

When you drive around the city and see the conditions of the roads and the infrastructure issues we are facing, is it really a priority to spend millions to have a path that no one really wants or that we really don’t need?

It seems the wants of this council are not in line with the needs of the community.

Something to keep in mind come this November.

Randy Fraser,

Port Alberni

budgetMunicipal GovernmentPort Alberni