The Regional District of East Kootenay board of directors has approved $2.5 million in additional funding for the Cold Spring Creek Debris Flow Mitigation Project.
The move comes after increasing construction costs and inflationary pressures have strained the current project budget. “The construction tenders we received were all over budget and the project team has worked hard to streamline costs and look at other potential funding sources; however, that left us with insufficient funds to complete the mitigation works,” explains Electoral Area F Director Susan Clovechok. “I am deeply grateful to my fellow directors for recognizing and appreciating the urgency of approving these additional funds for this critical project.”
The Board approved $1.5 million in funding from the Growing Communities Fund, which is a one time grant recently issued to local governments in BC for capital infrastructure projects. The RDEK received a total of $3.667 million in funding from the Province and has not yet decided how to allocate the remaining portion of the Growing Communities Fund grant.
In addition, the Board approved allocating $1 million from the Fairmont Flood and Landslide Service, which to date, has contributed only $150,000 to the overall project. This will be achieved through short term borrowing, which will be repaid by temporarily ceasing contributions to reserves and increasing taxation within the current maximums permitted under the Bylaw. Anticipated savings from the 2023 budget year will also be applied to the short-term borrowing to minimize impacts as much as possible.
As this project is largely funded through grants, the RDEK pays for the work up front and then submits the claims to the Province for reimbursement, which can take several months for processing. The Province has agreed to do their best to expedite reimbursement. To help the RDEK manage the cash-flow throughout the project as a result of these reimbursement timelines, the Board also approved the short-term borrowing of $9 million from the Municipal Finance Authority. This will allow the RDEK to access required funds only when needed, that would then be immediately repaid upon reimbursement from the Province.
Preliminary work has already started on the Debris Flow Mitigation Project with construction of an access road and clearing; however, the major portion of the construction is anticipated to begin this summer. The construction contract has been awarded to MacKay Contracting Ltd.
BACKGROUNDER: Funding Summary
With the additional funding of $2.5 million announced June 9, 2023, the overall budget is: $13,598,000, with the following funding:
- Adaption, Resilience and Disaster Mitigation Program – $9,723,000
- Growing Communities Fund – $1,500,000
- Fairmont Flood and Landslide Service Area – $1,150,000
- UBCM Community Preparedness Fund – $750,000
- Community Works Fund – $475,000
- Total including engineering and other related costs – $13,598,000