Capital Budget Requests for 2022

In 2021, the Capital budget was $8.4M and the proposed Capital budget for 2022 is $15.2M.  The increase is mostly because of heavy expenditure on repairing the waterfront but a large number of smaller projects are also proposed.  Many of the smaller projects are of interest but others are routine and expected so not included in my list below.  A full list would have 62 projects.  Financing is provided by multiple sources: direct from the tax levy ($185K), reserves ($3.9M), grants ($1.9M), debentures ($8.2M) and other (the balance).  Debentures add to long term debt –  for 2022, the “long term debt charge” is $350K compared to $650K in 2021.  So although a lot of money is being spent on Capital projects in 2022, the impact on the tax levy is minimal.  There is no estimate of what it might be in future years if interest rates go up.

So what are the significant projects?  Here are my choices:

Significant Projects in 2022

Project 2022 cost Notes
Harbour Rehabilitation $4,985,000 Note 1
Blake, Victoria, Burke Reconstruction $2,700,000  
Sanitary Sewer – 2 projects $1,430,000  
Replace Boardwalk at West Beach $1,060,000  
Kerr Street (Wilkins Gate-New Amherst) $746,000  
Bi-Annual Pavement Resurfacing $600,000  
Ongoing Street Light Replacement Program $355,000  
Replace Fire Truck $300,000  
Two small Transit Buses $240,000  
Victoria Park Canteen Conversion $165,000 Note 2
Upgrade to Pay & Display at Waterfront $150,000 Note 3
Wayfinding Signs $150,000 Note 4
Victoria Hall Maintenance – 5 projects $146,000  
Multi-Use Trails – 4 projects $135,000  
Marina Electrical System Upgrade $100,000  
Information Technology – 3 projects $85,000  
Playspace Equipment replacement – Westwood Park $60,000  
Brook Road North – Paved Shoulders $50,000  
Marina Security Access Gates $40,000  
Water Bottle Filling Stations in Parks – 2 $20,000  

Note 1. Harbour Project

Schedule

2022 (probably September Start)
North Harbour Basin Wall – $2,535,000
East Harbour Basin Wall – $1,525,000
Fuel Dock Basin Wall – $825,000
Centre Pier – $100,000

2023
East Breakwater – $2,275,000
West Breakwater Repair – $1,270,000

2024
West Breakwater Rehab – $4,225,000

Note that the East Pier Rehabilitation work is not recommended to be completed until after the East Breakwater work has been completed since construction vehicles will be traveling along the east pier in order to repair the breakwater. This means that the entry in the draft budget of $3.6M for the East pier in 2022 is incorrect – it should be 2023 – so the total 2022 Capital budget is $3.6M less than the draft budget shows.  Similarly, the amount of new long term debt by debenture for 2022 is also $3.6M lower.  The numbers in the lead paragraph above reflect this reality.  The upgrade of the East Pier is separate to the rehabilitation work and will be several million more and happen in about 2024.

Council were not clear on what the planned timeline would be and asked for more information (also I’m not quite clear!).  Staff are planning a public information session in January 2022.  This will include information on disruption at the waterfront during the work in late 2022 including road and parking lot closures.

Note 2 Building is to be converted to a family washroom and changing room facility as well as a utility and event headquarters room. The Canteen is to be replaced by food trucks.

Note 3 Higher fees are planned for the waterfront area so the original parking meters would not be sufficient to accept the amount of coin necessary for people to visit the area for long periods of time.  So Pay & Display would be required in most locations.

Note 4 Design and install two additional community map/event boards in the downtown waterfront area.  Redesign and replace “Cobourg” signs on eastbound and westbound 401. Seek partnerships with community / business organizations. Wayfinding Signs to be “maintenance free”.

Despite the marathon Council sessions or perhaps because of them, this year marks the first time in my memory that Council is on track to approve a budget before the year starts.  That will be a big achievement by itself.

Links

Town of Cobourg Budget Presentation Documents

Town of Cobourg web site links

Previous Cobourg News Blog Posts.

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11 Comments
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cornbread
12 November 2021 4:30 pm

Does anyone know if the Feds are helping us out on the rehab of the pi er/Port of Cobourg? They sold us a “white elephant”…Perhaps if we give Trudeau a good Photo-Op, he will throw a few million into the project.

Concerned
Reply to  cornbread
16 November 2021 12:55 pm

Being a conservative riding, good luck with that.

Sandpiper
12 November 2021 8:46 am

Why are we not asking for Grants and Funding from Mr Puccini when it come to Sanitary sewer and storm water up grades such as the west end/ side
of Cobourg along Elgin and Kerr streets west There have been 15 yrs of study’s and yet nothing done .

Concerned
Reply to  Sandpiper
16 November 2021 12:55 pm

How do you know they aren’t? You just can’t pull grants out of the air the program actually has to exist.

Dunkirk
11 November 2021 7:40 pm

There’s probably a great return on any capital investment we can make to our waterfront and it’s good to see the plan to do so.
If we travel down the coast/401 to Kingston you can see that they have a capital budget about 4X our size but they have taken an assertive(aggressive?), deliberate approach to accessing Grant funding which will now pay $24mm of their entire Capital Budget of $62mm. Most of this in recognition of the community’s ‘Climate Leadership” and spending to be made on waterfront projects.(stormwater/shoreline erosion etc)

Kingston has rec’d a total of $206mm in Grants since 2017…(.but, isn’t our MPP the Minister of the Environment?….)
Maybe we need a Grants Officer to access capital instead of some of the other positions being considered that cost us in operating expenses(?)
Just an idea……

Concerned
Reply to  Dunkirk
12 November 2021 3:53 pm

Did you not see it as one of the positions requested?

JimT
Reply to  Dunkirk
13 November 2021 12:47 am

I’d like to hear more about the “great return on any capital investment we can make to our waterfront…”.

How do we get anything back in taxes or revenue from the millions to be invested in the harbour?
Charge admission to the pier?
Hike the campground fees?
Parking revenue?
Other?

Ahewson
Reply to  JimT
13 November 2021 6:09 am

I was wondering that also, but then I realized I don’t even care. The pier and central waterfront are what Cobourg is. The very essence of Cobourg’s identity. Spend the money, do it right, move on. We’re blessed to be located on the water with the waterfront we have. Sometimes you just have to pony up.

Dunkirk
Reply to  Ahewson
13 November 2021 10:36 am

The short answer to waterfront ROI is simply the value of the property never goes down. A Balance Sheet asset, not a direct operational revenue item. I have noted that many other communities–on the water– have it included in their master plans that they maintain some funds at the ready if/when any adjacent waterfront comes available or for sale: Orillia, Kingsville etc..The justification, I suppose, is that there is always value for a community if it owns more waterfront.

Concerned
Reply to  Dunkirk
18 November 2021 11:56 am

And that has been the problem with our councils unfortunately. They have been so busy penny pinching and not planning for future large expenses such as the waterfront, firetrucks infrastructure investments etc. now will be paying the price but it has to happen whether we are happy about it or not.

Concerned
Reply to  Dunkirk
18 November 2021 11:51 am

I would also like to see an aggressive approach to parking charges in the downtown core and waterfront. Charge residents the normal rates in the off season from September to May and then allow free parking during high season for residents. Charge 5.00/hr or 40.00/day for non-residents this will not discourage people away from the beach but and will at least create higher revenues that can be used to offset increases in other areas. Enough with studying this issue and get on with it. This simple idea gives a break to residents and allows us to make more off of visitors to the town.