Councillors got side-tracked in a debate over the planned funding for South Springbank Community Facility site design at the Nov. 22 Rocky View County (RVC) Special Council Meeting while discussing the 2024 capital budget, an issue that has already proven to be quite contentious.
In the draft capital plan for 2024, a sum of $1.1 million has been reserved for both the Langdon Recreation Centre and the South Springbank Community Facility for site design.
In regards to the South Springbank Facility, that plan is in phase one of three, and the project will not be ready in the next year, but in the draft budget the County was prepared to set aside $1.1 million that could be used throughout the course of the facility’s phase one construction.
The only problem is a physical site location hasn't been fully selected yet.
RVC Division 4 Coun. Samanntha Wright brought up her reservations about allocating over a million dollars to a project in its most extreme infancy.
“There is a potential that phase two and phase three could change dramatically–are we putting the cart before the horse here?” she asked the other councillors.
RVC Executive Director of Operations, Byron Riemann said that the situation is all about pre-planning.
“It’s pre-engineering to make sure we’re setting the site up for success,” he said.
“Assuming [we] know what we’re building in the long run,” responded Wright.
“Correct,” said Riemann answered. “Assuming…in the future we should still have the look of the land to make sure [the plan] is appropriate.”
Wright was not the only council member who shared some skepticism about site design funding for the Springbank facility. RVC Division 3 Coun. and Reeve Crystal Kissel said that it felt like the county was “double engineering,” and that some of the residents had expressed disapproval over the construction of a large facility in Springbank.
RVC Division Coun. and Deputy Reeve Don Kochan responded by stating that “one voice coming forward” and voicing displeasure about the recreation facility, is only one voice.
“[There] are a pile of voices in the community, and the community has been reflected as far as their needs are,” said Kochan, who seemed to be referencing recent objections voiced by the Springbank Community Association, which strongly stated its displeasure with council’s plans for the facility earlier this fall.
Riemann reiterated to council that everything the County does has to be pre-planned, especially with builds like the Springbank facility.
RVC Division 7 Coun. Al Schule, who represents Langdon as part of his constituency, expressed some agreement with Wright and Kissel.
“We’re spending the money but we don’t know where the building’s going to go,” said Schule. “I think we need to step back on this one and figure out where it’s gonna go first. I have trouble spending a million dollars without knowing where it’s going.”
Further debate was then broken off by Kissel who recommended that the discussion be put on hold so the rest of the budget could be looked at.
On that note, councillors went on to look at the overall 2024 capital plan, which is slated to top $19.4 million this year. Of that total, about $13.8 million would come from federal and provincial grants, and $100,000 would come from community funding.
Outside of the Langdon and Springbank design funding, the most expensive County-funded projectin 2024 was $2.2 million for RVC fleet replacement.
Another significant County expenditure is $430,000 in funding toward the regional pathway system in Bragg Creek at Balsam Avenue and WBC Trail.