The City of Winnipeg released a document Friday that details 22 major capital projects the city has proposed over the next 10 years.
The Unfunded Major Capital Projects Detail document – which will be presented at the city’s Executive Policy Committee on June 11 – is intended to give council and the public an overview of the scope and rationale behind the projects before council makes decisions on individual items.
“So much of this is about building a city for families and building it in a way that really is positioned to take our city to another level,” said Winnipeg mayor Brian Bowman.
“We’ve been growing at a rate that we haven’t experienced in decades, but we know there’s increasing demand not only to repair aging infrastructure, but to build new infrastructure to support the growth we’re experiencing right now.”
Bowman said the document doesn’t recommend any increases in property taxes or utility rates – it’s to get information in greater detail about the challenges the city will be tackling over the next 10 years.
The city said the estimated costs of the 22 projects range from $24 million to $1.8 billion, with a total cost of more than $4.9 billion.
The projects proposed include:
North End Sewage Treatment Plant (NEWPCC) Upgrades: The scope of work includes upgrading the NEWPCC to meet new regulatory licence requirements, add wet weather treatment capability, treat sludge, and replace end-of-life equipment at a total of $1,789 million.
Rapid Transit Corridors (3 corridors): The future rapid transit corridors radiate out from the city centre to the suburbs of Winnipeg for $900 million.
Route 90 Improvements–Taylor to Ness: The proposed project requires the widening and reconstruction of Route 90 from four to six lanes from Ness Avenue to Taylor Avenue at $500 million
Arlington Bridge Replacement: The project is a proposed three-lane bridge to the west of the existing bridge that would include bike lanes and two sidewalks. This project is expected to cost $319 million.
Chief Peguis Trail Extension West–Main to Brookside: The project would be a four-lane divided roadway from Main Street to Brookside Boulevard. It would cost $487 million if the project is approved in 2020 or $598 million if approved in 2027.
Louise Bridge Replacement: The cost would be $240 million.
St. Vital Bridge Rehabilitation: The proposed project would involve the rehabilitation of the St. Vital Bridge over the Red River connecting Osborne Street to Dunkirk Drive at $50 million.
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Lagimodiere Twin Overpasses Rehabilitation: The project involves the rehabilitation of the Lagimodiere Twin Overpasses over Concordia Avenue and the CPR Keewatin rail lines at $45 million.
East of the Red Rec Plex: A $70 million, 90,000 square foot facility that would include a pool, eight lane swim tank, an indoor track, fitness areas, a gym and multi-purpose rooms all attached to the new Transcona Library. It would replace the usage of the Transcona Centennial Indoor Pool and the Bernie Wolfe Indoor Pool as they are reaching the end of their usage.
South Winnipeg Recreation Campus: A $108 million plan that includes three projects– a YM/YWCA ($60 million), a community centre ($36 million) and a library ($12 million).
Southeast Winnipeg Recreation & Library Facilities: a two-part project including a community centre ($12 million) and a library ($12 million).
William R. Clement Parkway–Grant to Ridgewood: The proposed project involves the construction of a new four lane divided roadway from Grant Avenue to Ridgewood Avenue, including trail crossings, and dog park locations the cost is to be determined.
Electric Bus Pilot Project: The proposed pilot project includes the purchase of 12-20 electric buses, associated charging infrastructure and other related infrastructure at $26 million.
North Transit Garage Replacement: The proposed project would see the replacement of Winnipeg Transit’s existing North Garage currently located at 1520 Main St. at a new location for $150 million.
Marion Transportation Improvements: This would include looking at lower-cost alternatives to road alignment projects. The costs are to be determined.
Southwest Interceptor–Phase 2: The proposed project involves the completion of the Southwest Interceptor and construction of approximately four kilometres of sewer works from the Red River crossing (Phase 1) to the South End Sewage Treatment Plant (SEWPCC) at $32 million.
Airport Area West Water & Sewer Servicing: This will include construction of sewers and watermains, lift station(s), force main(s) and associated appurtenances as required at $55 million.
More information on the Unfunded Major Capital Project Detail, including information for all 22 projects, is available online at City of Winnipeg – Unfunded Major Capital Projects.
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Matt Allard, Chair of Standing Policy Committee on Infrastructure Renewal and Public Works, said it’s not possible to fund all of these projects.
“Our debt ceiling is currently at $150 million, the list of the 22 major capital projects is over $4 billion so clearly there’s a huge gap between what we can afford and what we would like to build,” he said.
“It’s tough conversations and the fiscal realities are what they are. We are going to have to make the best decisions with what we have.”
Georges Chartier, Chief Asset and Project Manager for the City of Winnipeg, says the list was made up of important projects related to the quality of life for Winnipeggers.
“We wouldn’t put forward anything that’s not necessary first of all, but part of that planning exercise is how do we continue to provide the level of service that citizens expect and that’s how we identify these projects,” he said.
The funding options include looking at other levels of government for support, increasing property taxes and increasing water and sewer rates.
Putting the bill on taxpayers this way doesn’t sit well with Todd MacKay from the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.
“It’s concerning because you start thinking of the price tag right away,” he said.
“If you need money for something you have to find ways to save money somewhere else. The answer can’t be every time looking at more money from taxpayers. That’s really concerning in this situation.”
The city’s Executive Policy Committee will be reviewing the report on June 11 before full council has the chance to look at the proposed projects.