Funding Public Works

ESSENTIAL SERVICES FOR SQUAMISH

The Elector Alternative Approval Process (AAP) is now closed. A results report will be brought to Council during the first meeting in September.

The current Squamish Public Works Facility is at the end of its useful life and is no longer able to support the needs of the community. The District of Squamish proposes to borrow a sum not exceeding $20,202,020 under authority of “District of Squamish Public Works Facility Capital Works Loan Authorization Bylaw No. 2915, 2022”. Council can consider adopting the bylaw after receiving the AAP results report.

KEY TAKEAWAYS
  • Plans to replace the end-of-life Public Works facility are in place to ensure uninterrupted essential service delivery such as clean drinking water, safe roads including snow and ice control, and emergency response such as flooding and extreme weather.
  • We require elector approval to borrow $20M paid back over 20 years to fund the replacement and minimize taxpayer impact. Long-term borrowing spreads the cost of the facility over the life of the project so that future taxpayers help pay for the facility, as well as today’s taxpayers.  (see "Funding Public Works" below)
  • The new Public Works facility is carefully designed to be rightsized for the growing community through Squamish 2040 and beyond. It will maximize efficiencies and energy savings and will minimize costs where possible.
  • What about Brennan Park Recreation Centre Upgrades? Scroll down to learn more.
THE CURRENT PUBLIC WORKS FACILITY

Facility challenges are growing and will exponentially worsen as the community grows and service demands increase.

Take a tour of our current Public Works Facility with Chief Building Inspector Colin McCarthy and Technical Operations Manager Ben Kineshanko.


FAQs
Why is this location being proposed for the new Public Works Facility?

The location for the new Public Works Facility has important advantages that make it ideally suited for Public Works, including:

  • It is located beside the Waste Water Treatment Plant, an important function of Public Works. These facilities share staff and office space, creating management efficiencies and reducing operational costs.
  • The land for this location was originally provided to the District at no cost from the Province to be used for municipal purposes. Public Works requires a large parcel of land. If the facility were built elsewhere, the District would need to purchase land, adding significant cost to the project.
Has the District explored opportunities to combine the new Public Works Facility with other facilities?

Yes. To limit costs to the taxpayers, the District explores opportunities to combine facilities each time a new municipal facility is considered. At this time, the new Public Works Facility will include the following service areas:

  • Watery supply and distribution
  • Wastewater collection and treatment (in adjacent building)
  • Roads and drainage services, including snow and ice control, stormwater collection and drainage
  • Fleet maintenance (including all District vehicles, Squamish Fire Rescue, Parks, Search and Rescue)
  • Diking and flood monitoring
  • Parks, Trails and Horticulture administrative space
  • Facilities Planning and Maintenance Department

There will also be office space included in the new facility to accommodate additional municipal staff.

Opportunities to relocate the new Tantalus Fire Hall were considered at Public Works. However, due to insurance requirements, the location of the Tantalus Fire Hall must remain within a strict boundary in order for it to service the community. The Public Works land falls outside of this boundary.

Has the District explored opportunities to partner with School District 48 on shared facilities?

Yes. The District is having discussions with School District 48 about the possibility to share facilities with a future replacement of the municipal offices. Further discussions will continue and all options will be fully explored. No decisions have been made about new municipal offices and a lease has not been signed. That is a decision the next Council will make, and staff will bring forward buy vs lease scenarios for exploration.

Co-locating the school district’s offices at the Public Works Facility was not discussed. While the location is ideally suited for Public Works, there is not enough space available for a mixed-use facility.

In addition to School District 48, the District has considered other government and non-government users groups for potential opportunities to partner with, including arts, culture, heritage, health, and sport groups.

Has the District signed a contract to build the new Public Works Facility?

A contract to build the new Public Works Facility is in place. However, this contract is dependent on financing being approved. If financing is not approved, we may lose this contractor. This will mean that we need to start over again and renegotiate in a market where materials and construction costs continue to increase.

Will borrowing to build the Public Works facility impact the District’s ability to complete upgrades to Brennan Park Recreation Centre?

All facility upgrade decisions are guided by the Real Estate and Facilities Master Plan (REFMP). The REFMP was developed to tackle the monumental facilities renewal challenges facing the District today. The REFMP aims to close the gap between what we have and what we need, recognizing that we have many facilities to upgrade. It is a valuable blueprint that is guiding discussion, collaboration and decision-making.

With over 20 facility upgrades identified in the REFMP, external funding will be required to complete all of the upgrades in a reasonable time frame. External funding could come in the form of grants from other levels of government, sponsorships, or partnerships.

Public Works provides critical services for our community. Along with two fire halls, it is the highest priority to replace. The Public Works Facility is not a candidate to receive external funding. Therefore, borrowing to complete this project is the preferred way to pay for this facility as it will have the least impact on taxpayers.

Brennan Park Recreation Centre is an important facility to upgrade for our community. It is a great candidate to attract external funding. The District will continue to pursue grant funding opportunities to complete the important upgrades needed at Brennan Park.

Why did the costs for the Public Works Facility increase $4M in the second AAP, compared to the initial AAP?

The costs for the Public Works Facility increased in the second AAP process due to increasing costs in the construction industry. Like the price of many things globally, the costs for building materials and construction labour continue to increase.


ESSENTIAL SERVICES FIRST

Three critical facilities were identified in need of priority replacement in the 2019 Real Estate and Facilities Master Plan. 

HOW TO FUND PUBLIC WORKS, RECREATION AND OTHER IMPORTANT COMMUNITY FACILITIES

With 75% of municipal facilities at end of life, the community is faced with $200M +/- in facilities upgrades to service our growing community. Reserves and land sales are estimated at $60M, leaving a $140M funding gap.

The District has commenced an unprecedented period of facility analysis, design and construction through development of the Real Estate and Facilities Strategy (2018) and then adoption of a Master Plan in 2019.

  1. Needs were prioritized into Critical, Core and Support categories.
  2. A funding gap of $140M +/- (2022 dollars) was identified and a plan developed to close the gap through tough decisions, trade-offs and creative ways to leverage both internal and external funding sources, especially given the many other major projects outlined in the 10-Year Capital Plan.
  3. Every facility is important —but we can’t do them all at once. Priorities are assessed by community safety, urgency (building end-of-life) and funding availability. For example: recreation centres can attract grants, while city halls and public works facilities cannot. This is a key factor in prioritizing available funds.

What does this mean for Public Works?
We must use long-term borrowing for Public Works because it cannot attract external funding such as grants and partnerships. With only so much we can borrow each year, we must be strategic about which buildings we recommend borrowing for.

How did we get here?
Over decades, lack of planning and budgeting to build reserves for the eventual need to replace facilities has resulted in the current need for significant financial investments now and in the coming years. Read our "How We Got Here" backgrounder for more information.

WHAT ABOUT BRENNAN PARK RECREATION CENTRE?

Upgrades and expansion for the recreation centre are of great importance to the community and while the current focus is on replacing essential service facilities, plans to upgrade this well-used and well-loved community asset are also moving forward.

  • External funding from provincial and/or federal grant programs, sponsorships and partnerships is required to fund recreation upgrades.
  • The District of Squamish sought funding for the start of a deep energy retrofit, facility upgrades for better community accessibility, and an interior renovation for Squamish’s main recreation complex.
  • The District of Squamish has received $11.7M in federal funding through the Green and Inclusive Community Buildings program (Infrastructure Canada) to make improvements to Brennan Park Recreation Centre.
  • To learn more about the project visit the Brennan Park Recreation Centre page.
A FACILITY FOR SQUAMISH 2040

An expanded Public Works Facility with greater design flexibility will improve service delivery to meet the growing needs of our community.

Multiple service areas are accommodated:

  • Water supply and distribution
  • Wastewater collection and treatment (in adjacent building)
  • Roads and drainage services, including snow and ice control, stormwater collection and drainage
  • Fleet maintenance (including all District vehicles, Squamish Fire Rescue, Parks, Search and Rescue)
  • Diking and flood monitoring
  • Parks, Trails and Horticulture administrative space
  • Facilities Planning and Maintenance Department

A team of experts has worked with the District to carefully design the building to:

☑   Maximize use of space. At 32,000 ft², the proposed design is highly efficient per capita (Squamish population).

☑   Keep costs as low as possible.

☑   Maximize energy efficiency.

☑   Improve occupational health and safety, and ensure an accessible, equitable workplace.

☑   Ensure it is right sized for Squamish in 2040 and beyond.

 

PROGRESS
Status Class D budget, possible delay due to District funding approval
Timeline TBD pending funding timing
Current works Design 66% complete, pre-construction and site works under $5m (salt shed removal, soil remediation, preload)
Budget +/- $26m 
Next Steps Engage design assist, engage groundworks trades, Class C budget
Hurdles Soil contamination cost and time addition to project, coordination with WWTP upgrading project
Other Nil

Click drawings to enlarge.

 

FUNDING PUBLIC WORKS

Long-term borrowing over 20 years provides the most flexibility at a low interest rate with the least impact to taxpayers.

Borrowing is a valuable tool that helps to spread the cost of large capital projects amongst current and future taxpayers.

Long-term borrowing allows the District to:

☑   Divide the cost amongst all future taxpayers over time.
☑   Fund major capital projects that have a long life span
☑   Reduce the average taxpayer impacts

Funding Impact by Borrowing Versus Property Taxation (per $1M assessed value):

  Borrowing per year over 20 years (amount will reduce over time with population growth) Property tax impact if funded in a single year (per $1M assessment) Property tax impact if spread over two years (per year cost, per $1M assessment)
* Class 1 - Residential $116.30 $1,510.00 $755.00
* Class 6 - Commercial $298.80 $3,880.60 $1,940.30

* Other tax classes will also be impacted
* Tax impact numbers are estimates utilizing 2021 mill rates.

CLIMATE ACTION FOR SQUAMISH 2040

Key sustainability and climate-adaptation design features:

  • Wood frame office building with glulam timber post/beams and cross-lam timber panels: best carbon capture
  • 8% window to wall ratio: reduces heating & cooling costs
  • Solar wall on south exterior wall; reduces energy costs
  • Building and site uses 100% electric energy, no natural gas.
  • Offices, mechanical and SCADA systems above flood construction level; bays at flood level designed to handle debris and return to ‘business as usual’ swiftly after flooding.
  • Utilizes low combustible exterior materials.