Council approved the $12 million capital works budget plan that Treasurer Philippe Timbers presented during the second 2021 municipal budget review on February 2. But one item on the list, a $2 million upgrade of refrigeration system for the arena at the Robert Hartley Sports Complex, prompted some discussion on the best way to pay for the work.
The capital works plan calls for a long-term loan for the cost. Council members wondered if the town could get a federal infrastructure grant for the project.
Timbers noted that the focus of the federal infrastructure fund for recreation and critical infrastructure needs calls for “shovel-ready” project proposals. He also observed that it is uncertain how long the municipality would have to wait to learn if its application was accepted or not.
Council indicated the finance department should investigate whether a federal grant for the arena refrigeration upgrade was possible. If not, then the municipality would go ahead with getting a loan for the project.
The largest portion of the capital works plan budget goes to wastewater service improvements with an allocation of about $6.2 million.
The bulk of that is divided between two major upgrades at the municipal water treatment plant with a combined cost of almost $5 million. The projects, when completed, will improve treatment of water going through the municipal facility.
More than half of the cost for the two upgrade projects is covered through senior-level government grants and other sources. A $1.3 million loan will cover the remainder of the cost.
The second-largest combined portion of the capital works plan budget covers road improvements and other needs related to transportation within the municipality. The total is $2.5 million with almost half of that going to repairing the retaining wall along McGill Street bordering Hawkesbury Creek.
The project cost is $1,050,000 and most of the expense is covered through an $850,000 provincial grant.