The Quesnel Fire Hall located at 310 Kinchant St. needs improvement. Quesnel council approved applying for a grant to cover the costs. (File photo - Quesnel Cariboo Observer)

The Quesnel Fire Hall located at 310 Kinchant St. needs improvement. Quesnel council approved applying for a grant to cover the costs. (File photo - Quesnel Cariboo Observer)

Quesnel’s $12 million capital plan not just about gold pan

While conversation surrounding the monument’s location dominated council, other projects were funded

While the debate around investing in the gold pan monument, or moving it again, took up most discussion of Quesnel’s capital plan, council approved $12 million in spending in 2021 during their Jan. 19 meeting.

Of the $12 million in anticipated 2021 capital project spending, only $130,000 is coming from general taxation, with the rest coming from various grants and reserves.

A COVID-19 safe restart grant will help council fund projects since no casino taxes are coming in.

The plan sets out project spending until 2025, with nearly $42 million designated. Projects were categorized in 18 areas, from water and sewage to road construction and airport funds.

The biggest category under the capital plan is under strategic planning, where items like the Riverfront Trail refresh and pending municipal campground are located. The biggest item is $1.3 million for a pending childcare centre. The city is dedicating over $4 million in their capital budget, including the $80,000 for a gold pan update.

“[The gold pan] is 0.4 per cent of a $12 million capital plan,” Mayor Bob Simpson said, annoyed the conversation around the project was taking up so much time.

A motion from Coun. Ron Paull to remove the gold pan upgrades from the capital plan was defeated.

Paull voted against approving the capital plan because of the inclusion of the upgrade to the gold pan.

Under roadwork, the plan sets out which roads will see work in each year by the city, with $350,000 invested every year for general road rehabilitation.

The city is planning to rebuild the 600 block of Mclean Street in downtown Quesnel in 2021. Between 2022 and 2025 the city plans to work on Neighbour Road, North Fraser Drive, Graham Avenue, Patchett Street, Thompson Road, Walkem Road, Lewis Drive and the 700 block of Mclean Street.

The city outlined their proposal for the Quesnel landfill in the capital plans. They’re planning to spend $1.4 million over the next two years to design and build a new berm at the landfill.

Other projects set out in the capital plan include equipment purchases, building upgrades and maintenance, sidewalk work and park improvements.

READ MORE: New design and higher budget approved for Quesnel’s Public Works facility

“Ongoing challenges for the capital budget are ensuring there is enough funding for building maintenance and replacement, future landfill requirements and the replacement/renovation of the fire hall #1,” a city of Quesnel e-mail highlighting council read.

Council also approved applying for a grant to renovate the downtown fire hall at their meeting.

The full, five-year capital plan is available on the city of Quesnel’s website.

READ MORE: Quesnel gold pan discussion flares during council’s capital plan debate

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