UPDATE: Belleville will go ahead with Phase 3 of the downtown revitalization. During its capital budget deliberations Wednesday city council approved $12 million dollars for the project to begin in 2017. It will include the extension of Front Street to Dundas Street and reconstruction of Macannany and Market Square Streets. Councillors Kelly McCaw, Paul Carr and Mitch Panciuk voted against it.
Belleville city council began the debate on Phase 3 of the Downtown Revitalization project at Monday’s opening of the three-day capital budget debate.
Phase 3, the last reconstruction section of Front Street to Dundas Street plus Macannany and Market Square streets, sits with a cost of $12 million, not part of the $36.2 million of the proposed capital budget.
It would mean the downtown project would go from $21 million to 34.5 million.
Council was told staff has been “wrestling” with the road, sidewalk and infrastructure challenge.
Councillor Mitch Panciuk asked what would be lost if cuts were made.
Deputy director of engineering Ray Ford told council the watermain is from the 1880s, providing coloured water, the sewer is from the 1920s.
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.”
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.”
Councillor Paul Carr asked for a breakdown of taxes and user pay on the project.
The issue was deferred for a staff report later in the debate.
More $$$ for the Christmas display
Belleville city council came close to looking like a Grinch as it struggled with a proposed $35,000 amount for the Christmas light display in Belleville’s 2017 capital budget on Monday.
The amount was aimed at creating a Canada 150 display and upgrading the Foster display.
Coumncillor Mitch Panciuk noted the city had contributed $345,000 dollars toward the display at Meyers Pier and “could not justify such spending when there are children in need.”
Chair of the Christmas Lighting committee Councillor Garnet Thompson said efforts are being made to obtain donors.
A bid to cut the money went down to defeat, and the $35,000 passed on a recorded vote of 6 to 3.