A rendering of the wastewater treatment plant, which accounts for 68 per cent of capital expenditures. (File Photo)

CRD’s 2019 financial plan includes 23 per cent increase for capital projects

Housing, health care and wastewater projects included in 2019 plan

Wastewater infrastructure, housing and a health centre are all part of the Capital Regional District’s (CRD) 2019 financial plan, approved Wednesday at a special board meeting.

Following a four-year planning cycle, “to ensure alignment with the local government election cycle,” financial plans for the CRD, Capital Regional Hospital District (CRHD) and Capital Regional Housing Corporation (CRHC) were consolidated with a $313.3 million operating budget to pay for the regional services used by 413,000 people across Greater Victoria.

The capital portion increased by 23 per cent since last year, with $382.2 million in revenues and expenditures available for 2019 projects such as ongoing work on the Core Area Wastewater Treatment Plant – which accounts for 68 per cent of capital expenditures – and the $44.5 million purchase of Millstream Ridge housing, which will offer market and subsidized units.

Capital funds will also support the ongoing development of the E&N Rail Trail – along with the CRD’s plans to borrow $6.1 million to complete the final sections between Atkins Avenue and Savory Elementary School.

A major 2019 project planned for the CRHD is the West Shore Health Centre, estimated to cost $3.4 million. And potential projects include the planned $3 million RLH Multidisciplinary Pain Clinic, the $5 million Youth Mental Health Stabilization Unit and the $3.4 million Urban Victoria Health Centre.

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The budget was adjusted since it was first approved in September 2018 and now reflects a number of 2019 service plan adjustments such as the undertaking of a “regional greenhouse gas emissions inventory and modelling exercise” that required a $95,000 increase for the CRD Climate Action Service.

Additionally, budget adjustments were made to account for work recommended by the Special Task Force on First Nations Relations, which is seeking increases for special projects, meeting costs and support for the Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness, among other items.

“Various external pressures influence the Financial Plan including inflation, interest rate changes and utility costs, such as electricity, natural gas, and fuel,” according to a CRD release. “Impacts on CRD activity include the need for new capital investment, infrastructure maintenance and upgrades, and a continued focus on maintaining service levels while advancing Board priorities.”

RELATED: Greater Victoria officials take climate emergency request to CRD

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