The City of Castlegar’s plans for Phase 2 of the Columbia Avenue redevelopment project are being hindered from an unexpected source — the federal election.
Castlegar CAO Chris Barlow explained the situation to city council at Monday’s committee of the whole meeting.
About 90 per cent of the funding for the project has been requested through the federal Rural and Northern Communities Infrastructure fund. Due to the federal election, those grants have not been announced. The city is not expecting to receive notification of the funding until as late as January or February.
Phase 2 of the project will cover Columbia Avenue from 20th Street to 24th Street.
Due to this delay, the whole project schedule is going to have to be deferred and the city is asking that the Ministry of Transportation delay their plans to pave the section of Columbia Avenue included in the project until a later date.
One of the reasons behind choosing this section of road and the current timeline was the fact that the ministry planned to repave that section of Columbia Avenue in 2020.
With such a large portion of the project being paid for by senior government, city staff believes it is imperative to schedule all of the work in one construction season.
The original schedule for the project included the project going to tender in October, contracts awarded by the end of 2019 and construction starting as early as February.
Staff have already been working with the the ministry, Fortis BC, Telus and Shaw to relocate the existing power poles along the corridor to match the new alignment of Columbia Avenue. This work is scheduled to begin this month and be completed by the end of 2019.
A clause in the grant requirements states that any portions of the project that have already been contracted will not qualify for funding, leaving the city at a standstill.
With the delayed grant announcement staff has concluded that the project needs to be changed from 2020 to 2021 and the utility relocations rescheduled from fall of 2019 to spring of 2020.
In the meantime, city staff will still continue to work on completing the detailed design and property acquisitions required for the project.