Vancouver city council has approved cuts to its four-year capital plan that the city says will save more than a quarter-billion dollars.
The cuts, announced Friday, come as the city grapples with a financial crisis brought on by COVID-19.
According to the city, the $254-million capital budget reduction will see “some large, multi-year projects scaled back or postponed” to help ease COVID-19 funding pressures.
A report presented to council on Wednesday showed the city facing $219 million less in projected development and partner financial contributions brought on by the pandemic economic downturn.
The cut brings the city’s total spending over the four-year term down from $2.9 billion to $2.6 billion, and the city says it could result in a $10-million to $29-million reduction in property taxes in 2021 and 2022.
Several high-profile projects will be either scaled back or deferred following the move.
That includes a $3.25-million upgrade to Vancouver’s Manitoba Works Yard and City Hall campus buildings, $26.3 million in construction in city parks, and “complete streets” upgrades for Gastown ($7.2 million) and West Georgia Street ($4.5 million).
Major upgrades to the Granville Street bridge will proceed, though with a budget reduced by $9 million.
The capital budget cuts came the same week that Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart pledged to review a renovation project for city hall that included more than $300,000 in spending on new high-end office furniture.
Stewart had previously pleaded for a provincial bailout citing the pandemic’s effect on city finances.