GC Update – May 3, 2022

This week at General Committee, Council discussed the request for a funding increase at Neighbourhood Park on Hartwell Way, for which a total project cost of $1.5M was originally approved in 2018. In 2020, a Request for Proposal (RFP) was awarded, and in 2021 Council directed staff to proceed. The winning (lowest) bid was $2.1M (not including contingency).

With inflationary pressures (material, labour, supply chain etc.) there was an increase in cost. Cost increases have been commonplace in both public and private sector costs across the province, with escalations averaging near 40%. So, unfortunately, an increase in cost for this project is to be expected.

As a result of the increased cost, some have suggested we pause the project; and even though they support the park, they do not support the spend and think we should defer the project to a later date.  I personally, do not agree with this approach.

We have seen what happens when projects are paused and then restarted at a later date….they cost even more! Costs for material, labour – they always go up.  Over the past 2 decades we have seen multiple important projects in Aurora escalate in price due to “pausing” a project, or other delays. We want to avoid this.

While the cost of this project has gone up, as Council, we need to ask ourselves some important questions when considering whether to proceed.  As a community, ‘do we want more green space?’, ‘Do we want more programable open spaces within our community?’ I think the answer is yes. The pandemic has taught us many things. One being that we need more outdoor amenities for our community.

So, as a Council, we need to make a decision…not pause, delay or defer. Acknowledging the unlikeliness of a reversal of inflation, ‘yes’ or ‘no’ – ‘do we need this park?’. If it is the right thing for our community then we need to go forward now. Pausing the project – delaying it – does not save taxpayers money.  It will cost taxpayers even more money at a later date, and in the interim, denies the residents in that part of our community much needed green space. 

Council, in the majority, voted to move forward. However, the decision will need to be ratified at Council, later in the month. I am hopeful this will be the case and we will have a new park for our residents to look forward to and enjoy for many years to come.

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