Funding Public Works

ESSENTIAL SERVICES FOR SQUAMISH

This important community conversation is taking place now.

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.

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 will be required to fund recreation upgrades.
  • The District is actively seeking out and applying for grants and we are meeting with potential third-party operators, and seeking partners - both public and private.
  • We are engaging with recreation user groups towards our common end goal of upgrades and new facilities.
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 over the life of a project, and amongst current and future taxpayers.

Long-term borrowing allows the District to:

☑   Divide the cost amongst all future taxpayers over time.
☑   Free up money for other projects and initiatives
☑   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.
THE ALTERNATIVE APPROVAL PROCESS

The District is seeking elector approval to finance the Public Works facility through an Alternative Approval Process (AAP).

An AAP is a legislated process via the Community Charter that gives municipalities an alternate option to seek approval of electors other than through a referendum. It is often used by local governments to seek community approval for debt-financing capital projects.

  • An AAP reduces the costs, time and resources associated with a referendum.
  • If you support long-term borrowing to upgrade Public Works, then no action is required.
  • If you oppose long-term borrowing to upgrade Public Works, then you will be required to complete a form to register your opposition. With the facility upgrade urgently needed, the alternative to borrowing is funding via property taxes over one or two years.