Houston council has decided to cancel the proposed Bymac Park boat launch project after considering its financial implications.
The project would’ve come with a price tag of approximately $137,000, in addition to engineering costs, which district staff say could be “substantive.”
In its financial plan, council had set aside $37,900 to revitalize Bymac Park. Although B.C.’s Rural Dividend Fund could’ve helped cover a large portion of the costs, the district’s application for $112,810 was unsuccessful.
“Based on the quote provided, the district will not be able to complete the boat launch in 2018 without a substantial funding increase,” states a district staff report.
Had council decided to move forward with the project, the district would be restricted to its surplus funds.
“Grants are generally unavailable for projects to be completed in a time span of less than three months, as the application review period tends to be at least two to three months,” explains the report.
Concerns also included the approaching construction window for work in the Morice River, which generally falls within the July to September months in advance of the salmon run.
Council has considered negotiating project completion with the contractor to complete the boat launch in 2019. However, this posed the risk of inflating the costs - since costs for labour, equipment and material would likely increase.
“Even though this project would be completed by a private contractor, it is anticipated that the contractor would not agree to a fixed-fee contract that was based on 2018 prices,” explains the staff report. “As such, the total project budget would need to be increased in 2019.”
“Considering the conflicting funding needs and the risk of cost inflation, it is likely best to cancel the project entirely, and instead identify opportunities moving forward,” adds the report. “The funds for this project could then be repurposed to another area of need.”
Gerald Pinchbeck, Houston’s Chief Administrative Officer, told Houston Today that council has decided to repurpose the funds for other park improvements in the district. The details will be determined at a later date.
Had it been approved, the Bymac Park boat launch project would’ve reduced the need to dredge the existing boat launch once every two years.
The district will now need to incorporate dredging the existing boat launch into its financial plan. Generally, this type of work would be within $10,000 in overall costs, requiring the services of contractors with the necessary equipment to remove built up silt.