Houston council is discussing upgrades to Steelhead Park and replacing the “Houston” flowerbed with a more modern sign.
At the council meeting last Tuesday, CAO Linda Poznikoff said council budgeted $5,000 for the design of a new “Houston” flowerbed (H-bed) because it’s original design lacked a proper foundation and it is falling apart due to poor drainage.
Poznikoff says council is just looking at designs and the project won’t be done until next year.
She says the cost for a new, properly-designed Allan Block wall for the Houston-bed, that will avoid frost and water damage, is about $30,000.
Because of that, District of Houston staff sought council direction as to whether to fix up the bed and keep it the same, or look at a new design.
“I’m done with the [Houston flowerbed]. Is anybody else?” asked Deputy Mayor Shane Brienen.
Councillors around the table nodded and agreed.
“Yeah, it needs to change,” said Councillor Michalle Jolly.
Discussing some other design options, council seemed to agree that a cement or brick wall would be a good design to look into.
“It would be nice to get some wood in it too,” said Councillor Jonathan Van Barneveld, adding that with a wall design, you could see the word “Houston” in all four seasons.
Poznikoff says new ideas for sign designs will be presented for discussion at a future council meeting.
Another upgrade council discussed is the Steelhead Park shelter with the picnic table.
Poznikoff says the current support beams for the structure are rotting at the bottom and were braced with boards about four years ago because the structure is weak.
The $21,000 budget for the structure covers beam replacement and a concrete floor, said Poznikoff.
“Originally our plan was just to replace the beam structure and put the roof back on it,” she said, adding that now is the time for council to look at another option.
Council could install a gazebo similar to the one in Eddy Park on Highway 16 in Telkwa, which cost them roughly $26,000 in today’s dollars, Poznikoff said.
“If we’re going to spend $21,000 for new posts, I’m just wondering why we wouldn’t spend $5,000 and have a brand new building,” said Brienen.
“I know it’s a little extra money but at the end of the day, it’s probably going to last longer.”
In the discussion, council raised questions about the minimal cost difference between the two options.
Council asked staff to review the numbers and come back to council with confirmed cost estimates for replacing the building completely verses just replacing the beams.
Asked later why the costs are so similar, Poznikoff said it’s because removing the roof is more labour intensive.
Tony Edwards, Interim Director of Engineering and Development Services, confirmed to council that the $26,000 estimate for the new gazebo does not cover costs for the demolition and removal of the old structure, which would add roughly another $2,500.
The third upgrade council discussed was replacing the log railings on the east side of the park.
Council budgeted $9,904 for rail replacement, but Poznikoff says they priced the treated logs at $2,600, with an estimated $500 to pick the logs up, plus labour cost.
Asked whether that also includes the railings in front of the Chamber of Commerce, Poznikoff said it doesn’t.
“We did have that in the budget, but we cut it because council had to make some tough decisions,” she said.