Coun­cil approves funds for ma­jor build­ing projects

Edmonton Journal - - CITY - PAIGE PAR­SONS ppar­[email protected]­media.com twit­ter.com/paigeepar­sons

City coun­cil ap­proved spend­ing $101 mil­lion to­ward up­grad­ing Ter­wil­le­gar Drive to an ex­press­way Fri­day, along with a slew of other ma­jor build­ing projects

The plan to con­vert the south­west road­way into a free­way dates back to its ini­tial con­struc­tion in the 1980s.

The switch to an ex­press­way plan was con­cocted dur­ing con­sul­ta­tions ear­lier this year.

“The pro­posed ex­press­way ap­proach is less in­fra­struc­ture in­ten­sive. It moves away from ramps and over­passes and con­crete trenches, and moves to­ward mea­sured in­vest­ments,” said Ward 9 Coun. Tim Cart­mell, who brought the amend­ment that coun­cil passed, ap­prov­ing de­sign and con­struc­tion of phase one of the Ter­wil­le­gar plan.

The ex­press­way plan is part of $4.3 bil­lion in pro­posed spend­ing on build­ing and re­newal projects for the next four years that coun­cil de­bated as it con­tin­ues to roll through bud­get dis­cus­sions on city spend­ing for the next four years.

A long-de­layed plan for the Coronation Com­mu­nity Recre­ation Cen­tre, which will fea­ture an in­door velo­drome, got the fi­nal $16 mil­lion needed to get the pro­ject built.

For years, ad­vo­cates of the plan have ar­gued for the 250-me­tre in­door cy­cling fa­cil­ity to be in­cluded and at­tached to a rare cen­tre that will also fea­ture a pool and run­ning fa­cil­i­ties — mak­ing it par­tic­u­larly at­trac­tive for triath­letes.

Fund­ing for the fa­cil­ity was nearly in place, but when cash ex­pected from the prov­ince didn’t ma­te­ri­al­ize, it also elim­i­nated a po­ten­tial fed­eral grant, leav­ing the pro­ject short.

The com­mu­nity is also pitch­ing in a por­tion of the out­stand­ing cost, but Ward 2 Coun. Bev Esslinger said the pri­vate fundrais­ing push needs the boost of know­ing the pro­ject will ac­tu­ally be built.

Soc­cer fans also got a win Fri­day when coun­cil ap­proved an ex­pan­sion to the Ed­mon­ton Soc­cer As­so­ci­a­tion’s south cen­tre, which will see the city cover $18.5 mil­lion in tax-sup­ported debt in concert with a $9.5 mil­lion con­tri­bu­tion from the soc­cer as­so­ci­a­tion in self-sup­port­ing debt.

“I know it’s a pretty big ask, but at the same time there hasn’t been a sin­gle as­so­ci­a­tion that has of­fered to chip in $9.5 mil­lion of their own money into any pro­ject in the full bud­get,” said Ward 12 Coun. Moe Banga, who brought the amend­ment.

Though coun­cil has been lis­ten­ing to bud­get pre­sen­ta­tions and de­bat­ing for sev­eral days, a num­ber of de­ci­sions on day-to-day city ser­vices have yet to be re­solved. Coun­cil is ex­pected to re­sume de­lib­er­a­tions on Tues­day.

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