Belleville has decided to go ahead with Phase 3, the third and final stage of the downtown revitalization project.
The issue of the increased cost and whether or not the city should continue with the completion of the revitalization plan came under a second debate on Wednesday during city council’s capital budget deliberations.
On Tuesday, Councillor Paul Carr had asked for a breakdown on taxes and user pay. Staff presented that report to council on Wednesday.
It shows that $4.6 million is paid through water and sewer user pay. Street lighting is $2.8 million of the cost.
Councillor Jack Miller pointed out the Downtown Business Improvement Area is paying $250,000 for lighting in the city centre.
On Tuesday, Deputy Director of Engineering Ray Ford told council infrastructure was an important part of the project since it dates from the 1880s and 1930s.
He said the project’s “driving force is the underground work,” and “if you do underground it makes sense to do the above ground work.”
This means the total cost of the downtown revitalization project will go from the original estimate of $21 million a number of years ago to $34.6 million.
Mayor Taso Christopher told council, “It’s the city core. ” He said, “Between 1200 and 1300 residential units will be coming downtown. There are 432 units in the last 12 months. That’s already 30 %. We can’t bring people down without the infrastructure. It’s not free; they’ll pay with their taxes.”
Phase 3 is now set to go ahead in 2017.