Moving aside projects for an escalator

Lisa Goudy
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The sun shines over Mosaic Place.

Coun. Candis Kirkpatrick had no trouble supporting eliminating certain projects to accommodate an escalator at Mosaic Place.

“This is money that was already identified previously and something came up with the recommendation about the escalator and the cost was going to increase because of it. We aren’t asking for any more money to install the escalator,” she said. “I just want to make sure that there is an understanding that this isn’t further money that we’re looking for to be able to satisfy this particular need.”

At Monday’s council meeting, councillors voted in favour of eliminating arena acrylic glass, venue run software and YaraCentre marquee to leave enough funding for an escalator.

“It was under budget from the money that has been talked about over the years that this project has been discussed,” said Mayor Deb Higgins. “What we’re seeing with these numbers is a scaling back of enhancements to the project to cover the cost of an escalator, which many people in this community have expressed over and over again the understanding that it would be an asset to the building.

“It would be an asset to the people that attend events at that building and this council has listened to that.”

She said the item has come back to council several times for accountability.

“This facility is funded not only by Moose Jaw taxpayers but also by members of the R.M. of Moose Jaw who actually kicked in money to a community facility but also federal governement dollars have gone into this project and also provincial dollars,” said Higgins. “This isn’t just the taxpayers of Moose Jaw that have built the facility.”

But Coun. Brian Swanson took an opposing point of view. He said the money originally came from the continency fund for the projects, meant for unforeseen circumstances. The original recommendation from city administration was to put the $1.5 million back into the capital budget with the city, which passed and was then reversed, he said.

“The arguments to suggest that the contingency money belongs to fundraisers are without validity and simply bogus, never made before by anyone at the podium, never discussed in a report, just switched,” said Swanson.

He stated there are higher prioities in the city, such as cast iron water mains.

“I liken this to sitting with your spouse, you’ve just gone to the bank and borrowed a bunch of money and you’re trying to decidewhether you go to Hawaii or Puerto Vallarta even though your ceiling is leaking and your furnace has died,” said Swanson.

“To me it’s  to be allocating this money when we as a group know what is going to be coming down the tubes for the taxpayers of Mosoe Jaw in a very short time, weeks, and the tremendous expenses that  they will have to incur to make sure these central infrastucutre of the city remains intact.”

The money details

At the April 22, 2013 council meeting, councillors voted to dedicate $1.5 million left over from the Mosaic Place and YaraCentre budgets for capital project enhancements to the facilities.

On July 8, 2013, council voted to proceed with safety enhancments for $225,000, event hosting enhancements for $191,700, communications and marketing enhancements for $253,800, an escalator for $770,000 and a contingency on those projects for $59,500.

However, on May 20 of this year councillors approved awarding the escalator project to Century West Construction Ltd. for $991,790 plus GST by eliminating other projects. The escalator budget was increased to $1.14 million.

Therefore, $367,000 of other enhancements was cut. The new budget is $60,000 for safety enhancements, $191,700 for event hosting enhancements, $24,800 for communications and marketing enhancements and $86,500 for a contingency fund.

Follow Lisa Goudy on Twitter @lisagoudy.

Organizations: Century West Construction

Geographic location: Moose Jaw, Hawaii, Puerto Vallarta Mosoe Jaw

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