Plans on hold
New emergency services centre won’t be in 2016 Summerside budget
A new emergency services centre for the City of Summerside won’t be in the 2016 budget, said Summerside Mayor Bill Martin.
Plans to construct a multimillion emergency services centre, which was hoped to house the city’s fire department along with ambulance services, were shelved in 2015, although the previous council said such a centre was a high priority.
That council had set aside $250,000 in its 2014 budget to begin the planning process for the new fire hall, including a facilities study, with the hope to begin construction in the spring of 2015. News the project didn’t meet eligibility requirements under the New Building Canada Fund put the centre on hold.
The mayor said the city, at this point, isn’t willing to borrow to fund the project.
“What we’re hoping to do is to attract partners to the project,” he said.
“We certainly haven’t exhausted all avenues, particularly now with the new federal government.”
The budget planning process is still ongoing, and Martin wouldn’t hint as to what residents can expect in the city’s fiscal plan for 2016.
“All budgets where public funds are at risk need to be scrutinized very carefully. There is a perception and a misconception... that I personally campaigned on reducing the city’s debt. I did not. I campaigned on managing the city’s debt,” said the mayor. “All departments have a responsibility to be prudent and to be as efficient as possible. I actually have a staff here that is about half the size of a lot of other cities, a lot of other urban cities our size.”
The city runs a staff between 120 — at this time of year — to 160 in the summer.