UPDATE on South Winnipeg Recreation Campus – May 2024

The public service has provided an update on the South Winnipeg Recreation Campus for May 2024. I am providing a brief overview and additional perspectives.  See full report South Winnipeg Recreation Campus – New Recreation Centre Budget Status

  • 2019:   the City applied to the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP) a program that had both the Federal and Provincial governments providing funding. The application was for Phase One, which includes 3 gymnasiums, an indoor walking/running track, multi-purpose rooms, and an outdoor spray pad park. In 2019 –  the estimated cost for these facilities was $71 million. The city wanted to apply to the Federal grant, so the city applied using the Class 5 estimate. It is important to note: a Class 5 estimate means the accuracy of the cost estimate can be up to 50% less or 100% more.
  • 2020 – 2022:  there was a Provincial delay in signing off on their contribution and support of the application
  • 2023: City hired architectural team and refined the cost of the recreation campus, based on all facilities, to a Class 4 estimate.  The Class 4 estimate to build the same facilities (no size reduction), and is now projected to require an additional $23 million. It is important to note: a Class 4 estimate means the accuracy of the estimate can be up to 30% less or 60% more.
  • 2024: Council is to decide what Option to pursue

The cost increase is due to the refinement of a Class 5 estimate to a Class 4 estimate, unprecedented cost escalation over a period of three years associated with the COVID-19 pandemic and related impacts on the construction industry.

The Public Service has identified three options to address the project budget shortfall for Council’s consideration. Council will vote on the options on May 30th, 2024:

Option 1 – The City would amend the project budget and solely fund the estimated $23 million budget shortfall through increased debt funding, as one possible funding source.

Option 2 – The City would reduce the scope of the current project to match the approved budget and plan to introduce identified amenities in future phases.

Option 3 – The City would continue discussions with the Federal and Provincial governments, which are partners in funding.

The cost sharing agreements in the ICIP funding agreement breakdown for the $71 Million recreation campus is:

  • 36.8 %   City of Winnipeg  ($26.1 Million)
  • 44.6%    Government of Canada ($31.7 Million)
  • 18.6%   Province of Manitoba  ($ 13.2 Million)

It is important to note IF funding principles were to remain consistent with the ICIP agreement, the additional $21 Million required from each level of government would be:

  • $7.7 M   City of Winnipeg
  • $9.4 M    Government of Canada
  • $3.9 M   Province of Manitoba

PLEASE KNOW:

  • I am supporting Option 1, and City will continue reaching out to the Province and Federal governments for additional support. I know all of Council recognizes the population growth of southwest Winnipeg is over 60,000+ people, and there are no facilities to support this growth.
  • I adamantly believe the Province and Federal governments should also be supporting this project with additional funding AS PER the original funding percentages and principles put forth in the ICIP grant application.

And

These two issues REALLY concern me going forward on EVERY City infrastructure project. I see these issues impacting every infrastructure project in Winnipeg and especially in the rapid growth area of the Waverley West ward:

Outdated Tax Dollar Allocation:

  1. The current ‘tax allocation’ ACROSS CANADA for every $1 tax dollar you pay is cities cities/municipalities receive 10 cents, the Provincial government receives 40 cents and the Federal government receives 50 cents.  Its an archaic outdates funding model that needs to change  – as it is impossible to support City services and growth with this tax funding model (more on this issue:  Your Tax Dollar )

Unsupported Rapid Growth

  • Canada needs immigration to support our economy and to ensure a young work force BUT when rapid growth requires more than just houses. It is good that the Federal and Provincial government are providing funding for housing – BUT rapid growth means cities need corresponding infrastructure: good roads, transit, community centres, fire halls, bridges, upgraded sewer plants to handle capacity and more. The Federal governments immigration policy is to bring in 1.5 Million people over the next three years. For a fact, unless there is funding to support the required corresponding infrastructure, I can’t fathom how cities will handle the growth.

So to end with hope:

  • all THREE levels of government need to work together to improve the tax dollar allocation so cities can support this growth. I do have some hope – Provincially, Premier Kinew indicated in Budget 2024 (page50)  that he will begin discussions with the City on a new funding model. Let’s hope good progress is made with these discussions.