A federal grant could help cut costs for a new roundabout currently being designed near the proposed site for an Amazon warehouse by Highway 17. But questions about costs continue to surround the project.
Both Sidney and North Saanich council Monday signed off on a formal cost-sharing agreement for the project with Sidney’s vote unanimous.
In North Saanich, the project has drawn more opposition, with Couns. Jack McClintock and Celia Stock formally opposed to the agreement in a 4-2 vote with Coun. Heather Gartshore not present. While supporters of the project highlighted the benefits, they also raised questions about future costs.
“We should advance this with caution,” said Mayor Geoff Orr.
Sidney, North Saanich and Victoria Airport Authority (VAA) earlier this year had announced a memorandum of understanding to build a roundabout at the intersection of Beacon Avenue West and Galaran Road, as well as realigning Sterling Way in the hopes of smoothing traffic flow in the area.
The estimated cost of the project is at around $5 million with Sidney and VAA each paying 40 per cent and North Saanich 20 per cent. While local authorities have long argued for infrastructure improvements in the area, the pending arrival of Amazon has accelerated plans.
Sidney council Monday also approved an application to a federal grant program for capital projects outside Metro Vancouver on behalf of the three partners with staff adding that they plan to ask for a figure between $4.5 and $5 million.
Should the application succeed, any funds will be divided among the parties according to their 40-40-20 cost-sharing agreement, subject to any restrictions imposed on any programs.
The report also contains a small but not insignificant piece of news for residents: the total cost of the project is sticking at around $5 million, at least for now, with a 30 per cent contingency included in that figure.
VAA is responsible for the design and construction of the roundabout and will bill its municipal partners.
Sidney has chosen to borrow its current share of the project — $2 million, but potentially less — over the next 20 years. Council Monday approved the necessary bylaw.
Design is currently underway with substantial completion of the project expected for November 2023.
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