City of Fredericton reinstates several capital projects put on hold in 2020

·2 min read
The City of Fredericton plans to spend $3.1 million, in addition to COVID-19 relief funding, to restart several projects that were put on hold last year because of the pandemic. (City of Fredericton - image credit)
The City of Fredericton plans to spend $3.1 million, in addition to COVID-19 relief funding, to restart several projects that were put on hold last year because of the pandemic. (City of Fredericton - image credit)

The City of Fredericton is going ahead with projects that were originally cut to balance this year's budget.

Some of those items include $1.4 million toward the Officers' Square redevelopment, $500,000 toward a retrofit for City Hall, new park infrastructure and a transit study.

The municipality recently had a $3.1 million shortfall — $2 million of that was related to the pandemic and $1.1 million toward rising operating costs.

Investing in 'preventative maintenance'

Through Canada's safe restart agreement, which helps cover massive losses for municipalities, the city received $3.18 million.

"Our capital project inside our budget moves forward as it's designed to, maximizing our ability and the city's ability to invest in preventative maintenance and support of the infrastructure of the city in a fiscally responsible way," said Coun. Greg Ericson.

Council approved the recommendation to reinstate the budget items at Monday night's council-in-committee meeting. Funding the city projects still need final approval from council.

'Park the money and hold it'

Some councillors questioned if funding all seven projects was the best use of the money.

"I'm just feeling in these times of uncertainty that we should just park the money and hold it," said Coun. Eric Price.

Alicia Keating, assistant director of corporate services and acting city treasurer, said that option had already been discussed.

"Where there is additional funding anticipated throughout the year, the discussions were, 'let's get what we can done."

Some of those city projects will also be delayed.

"Typically some of the projects would be ongoing or we would already have tenders that we could purchase equipment, per say," she said. "Or some of them wouldn't have started until a little bit later in the year anyway."

In the future, Keating said the city anticipates more federal funding of about $1.5 million through The COVID-19 Resilience Infrastructure Stream.