Grande Prairie city council is moving up around $20 million in capital investments to the 2020 construction year. In an effort to lift up the local economy, the work will be done on a number of areas earlier than previously scheduled.
It includes upgrades to the Eastlink Centre, fencing at the CN Railyard in Hillside, improvements to Ernie Radbourne Pavillion, and road work in the Countryside, Cobblestone, and downtown neighbourhoods.
Mayor Bill Given says some members of city council were looking to spend as little as possible not knowing the full fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, he says they have to find a balance when trying to come up with a solution that works best for the community.
“There is a natural tension between that desire to be fiscally responsible and provide the services and facilities that the community needs,” he explains.
One of the more contested budget lines was repairs and upgrades to Revolution Place. Given says some money has been included in the 2020 budget, but no specific projects have been approved.
“In the end, the council decision was to really stay the course and allot this money, and we had confidence in doing that because administration was able to advise that council wanted to have a discussion about a larger vision of Revolution Place prior to any of the funds that were budgeted,” he says.
The Grande Prairie Storm recently asked for a box office reconfiguration to improve customer service. There has been no date set for further discussions on the building’s future.