Drilling down into parts of a multi million dollar capital projects budget.

By Pepper Parr

February 10, 2014


With the city budget determined as both capital costs and Operating costs – it can still be very confusing.

Council members have tons of questions. Rather than have some questions asked several times city staff pull

together all the questions and consolidate them – letting staff dig out the answers and put the collection in front of council

– it runs to 25 pages.

Markings identifying portions of the street intended for cyclists.

Future plans for bike lanes:

Setting aside part of roadways for cyclists is still a work in progress in Burlington.  The cycling advocates

lost the battle to have dedicated lanes on Lakeshore Road – something to be remembered come the

civic election.

 Question:     Provide a consolidated breakdown of capital funding sources and total cost to install bike lanes for the projects identified in the capital budget.

Response: Preliminary Bike Lane forecasted costs

Ref #        2       Appleby Line @ Harvester Intersection

$ Costs if part of road expansion
Standalone costs (no planned expansion)

Year 2018                                                                                $22,000                     $822,000

Ref #


Harvester Road @ Guelph Line IntersectionYear 2017 $22,000 $148,000
Ref #


Harvester Road – South Service Road to CenturyYear 2017 Drive$161,700 $823,200
Ref #


Harvester Road – South Service Road to WalkersYear 2017/2020 Line$365,200 $699,500
Ref #


Lakeshore Road – Maple Avenue to City LimitYear 2015/2017 $451,000 $957,000
Ref # 11 North Service Road @ WalkersYear 2014 $187,000 $277,000
Ref # 12 Waterdown Road NorthYear 2016 $528,000 $818,000
Ref # 13 Waterdown Road WideningYear 2014 $72,600 $312,600
Ref # 16 Plains Road Reconstruction
Year 2015 380 m @               $220 /m = $83,600 $1,005,000
Ref # 17 South Service RoadYear 2016/2017 $52,800 $209,600 *
Ref # 19 Brant Street @ Plains RoadYear 2017 $22,000 $66,000
Ref # 20 Harvester Road @ WalkersYear 2016 $22,000 $272,000
Ref # 21 King Road – SSR to NSR
Year 2019 $57,200 $2,532,000 *
Ref # 23 Walkers @ DundasYear 2016 $22,000 $52,000
Ref # 24 Walkers @ Upper MiddleYear 2018 $22,000 $122,000
Ref # 25 Waterdown Road Bridge Widening at Hwy 403 $17,600 $1,500,000 *
Ref # 28 Burloak Drive Grade SeparationYear 2020/2021 $44,000 $2,000,000 *
Ref # 31 Lakeshore Road ReconstructionYear 2019 $37,400 $179,100
Ref # 32 Plains Road @ York Blvd RoundaboutYear 2023 $33,000 $83,000
Ref # 33 Walkers Line – Hwy 407 to No 1 SideroadYear 2020 $239,800 $824,800
Ref # 85 Eastport Drive Cycling ImprovementsYear 2017 $11,000 $1,000,000 *


$2,473,900 $14,702,800

Harvester Road corridor:

Question:     Harvester Road Corridor Improvements and Widening. Provide the total cost of all works proposed along the Harvester Road corridor.

Response:   The total gross cost of projects along the Harvester Road corridor is $ 27,489,500.


Sealing cracks on roads is one of the preventive maintenance tools before a road has to be rebuilt. Shave and pave have proven to be money well spent – and we are spending a lot of money on this tool.

 Road repairs – sealing cracks:

Question:     Provide the list of suggested roads that will be crack sealed.

Response:   The following table identifies the proposed 2014 crack sealing candidates


Road From To

 Downtown street lights:

Question:     Is the sum of $884,000 in addition to the $1.9 million included in previous budgets to complete Decorative Street Light Restoration works on the downtown?

Response:   The sum of $884,000 is new funding. The restoration project is to start in 2016 and continue yearly for 4 years with an expenditure of $222,000 per year. The previous Capital funding was for the reconstruction of Brant Street, burying utilities and installing Decorative Street Lights.


Central Arena Facility Renewal/Enhancements – Skyway

Question:     Is money needed for these arenas? What is the future direction of Skyway?

Response:   Funds for Central Arena are identified for 2015 and funds for Skyway Arena are identified for 2017. Staff will be conducting an ice needs review in 2014 to determine if the current inventory will meet customer needs for the next 5-10 years. The results of this review will be presented to Council. If the review warrants major renovations to either arena, staff will submit a business case in conjunction with the 2015 budget submission.

The capital budget will be recast in 2015. As such, the 2014 capital budget and forecast focused on 2014 projects. The project in the capital budget assumes a revitalization of Skyway Arena based on life cycle renewal requirements. However, prior to proceeding with this a strategic review of the need for this facility vis-a-vis ice user needs as well as other community needs will be under taken as directed by Council.


Longer term thinking has city hall being replaced but for the immediate future improving the sound system in Council chamber – FINALLY! and improving some of the meetings rooms is where capital dollars will be spent this year.

City Hall:

Question:     What work is being done on the city hall building  for the $250k in 2014?

Response:   A City Hall Administrative Study is underway which will provide a recommended strategic option for City Hall needs. Funding identified in 2014 is to advance the high level option recommended in this study to design development including costing for capital budget purposes.

Looking at what to do with city hall long term doesn’t mean it will be left to disintegrate.

Question:     Provide the detail of the work being done in 2014 for public meeting rooms and council chambers.

Response:   (a) Meeting rooms on 3rd floor: Replacement of carpeting, furniture and technology. (b) Council Chambers: Audio equipment only.


Now the biggest park the city has – and the furthest from the bulk of the population.

City View Park:

It is now the biggest park the city has – but very few people get to use the place tucked away as it is in the north-west sector of the city – easier for Waterdown people to get to the place.

Once you are there – the site is wonderful.  Many don’t like the plastic grass and argue that we will rue the day we have to pay for its replacement and cost of getting rid of it.  It was hoped the location would be a big Pan Am Games attraction but all Burlington is going to get is a decent chunk of rent money for space soccer teams use to practice.  The public will not be allowed onto the site during those practices.

Question    Outline the need for the 1.8 FTEs and $158K of operating requirements in 2016 and 2017.

Response:   2014 request of $5K supports the portable washroom facility required at the site. The amounts for 2016 and 2017 should be adjusted as follows:

Move request for $15K and 0.3FTE from 2016 to 2015 to provide a student for maintenance of the 3 premier sports fields starting in the Pan Am year. This student will work weekends and will provide a presence in the park, collect litter, groom fields as needed, inspect the trails and ensure the fields are being used as permitted. Three artificial turf fields have been built out and the large investment in this infrastructure requires a greater level of oversight and service.

Move request for $143K and 1.5FTE to 2019 when the Pavilion construction is scheduled. The FTE’s are for one permanent staff person (Equipment Operator) and one seasonal temp. With the build out of the pavilion, the washroom building will be open and the picnic areas. Much like other city parks (such as Central, Nelson, Sherwood Forest, Millcroft, Lowville) the investment in infrastructure combined with high use require increased staff levels to ensure that maintenance standards are met.


Information technology is everywhere – but not always something you can put your finger on. Done well it will save most people time and the city administration a tonne of money. Expensive – yes – but we couldn’t exist without it.

 Information technology:

City hall is going to use the internet as much as it can to both improve its communication with its citizens and to reduce its costs.  The Information technology department will be charged with delivering on the policy that Council decides upon.

There will be some bumps along this road – we don’t have an IT department that manages to be ahead of the curve in the IT field – to be fair few municipalities are able to keep up with the change.  Major corporations stumble on this one.  Add to that – that technology takes longer to complete – almost every time.

 Project:        E-Government Strategy Implementation

Question:     a) How much funding has been committed to the E-gov’t program (to date and future)?

b)  How many FTEs (permanent and temporary) are assigned by year?

c)  With the money being spent, what will be the outcomes / transactions?

Response:   a) The E-government program funding is:

Approved to-date:

$1.21 million (2011 – 2013 capital budget requests for software, hardware, implementation, IT staff costs). The projects supported with this funding are the web portal, e-commerce, public involvement, community calendar, service requests.

$490,000 (current budgets for business project staffing costs). These staff are supporting projects for recreation services, web design and migration and overall e-government program implementation. (one-time expense)

2014 capital request:

$240,000 to support projects in development services, open data and staff support.

Total of $1,940,000. This reflects what was requested in the 2012 budget in a 3 year capital program (2012 – 2014).

b)    Staff assignments to E-Government Program:

Program manager 3 years, Business Analyst – 2 years, Application Analyst

– 2.5 years, P&R Business Lead – 1 year, Web Specialist – 1 year. The Program Manager and Application Analyst positions finish in 2015 and all others end in 2014.

All of the positions are temporary assignments done through secondment or contract.

c)     E-Government Program deliverables are focused on enhancing and expanding our customers’ online experience. Our goal is to introduce more electronic service options for the public and enhance the information access/search ability with improved navigation.

Services delivered to date include:  The online Live and Play guide with direct connection to program registration, Public engagement through MindMixer, Tax bill/statement electronic distribution and payment through EPost,   Online Tyandaga tee time bookings, P&R program waitlist notification and receipt printing, Online facility availability, Online P&R membership registration.

City information data sets available through our Open Data project for developers and interested community members e.g. our transit schedule is now available through free apps to make it easier to know what bus to take based upon where you want to go.

Our future deliverables are:

Providing a single online reference point for Public Involvement opportunities with the City through a new web page

Online facility availability to meeting rooms and picnic spaces

Revitalized map views to make them easier to use and understand

More data sets for developers to create apps for our citizens to use e.g. cycling routes, construction plans, approved budgets

A new website with the ability to put more services and information online in an easier to access format e.g. service requests, development service permits and applications

An enhanced community calendar

A more user friendly and flexible e-payments solution

Emerald Ash Borer

This is one of those projects where we often don’t know that we are doing – but then no one else in the field knows all that much either.  It is complex, based on science that we are still learning about and it is expensive.  The hope is – and that’s basically all we have at this point – is that we can keep ahead of it.  Not much of an upside but the downside is to lose thousands of trees – and if tax payers are concerned about property values – imagine a street that loses all of its ash trees.  This is a tough one.


This little creature is costing us a fortune – and we are not at all certain we are going to win the battle to stop the infestation.

Question:     a) How effective is the current program?

b) What were the results of the pilot program in Oakville?

Response:   a) Although the effectiveness of the current program is still being understood, observations indicate that treatment has contributed to the prolonged life of ash trees. To date, the trees requiring removal have been primarily those that are untreated and there has not been a significant impact to treated trees. In some cases, non-treated trees have been removed beside treated trees that are still standing.

How much damage can the Emerald ash bore do? Trees in Cambridge that are lost.

b) Staff will request information from Oakville staff about the results of their pilot study and provide Council with this information as it is received.

The above are a few of the items in the capital budget for 2014.  The numbers are for the most part place holders while the city totally re-casts the capital budget for 2015 – which is when the new budgeting tools begin to come into play.  Service based budgeting, Result based accountability and new Business process management tools will become THE approach used at city hall.

Will they make a difference.  You want to hope so – there are some costs coming our way that could cripple the 2020 taxpayers.


Return to the Front page
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

2 comments to Drilling down into parts of a multi million dollar capital projects budget.

  • Maggie Steiss

    I have been riding my whole life, my bike is my transportation. I have ridden on many busy streets including at rush hour. While bike lanes are nice and I certainly don’t object to them if there is space, I have also never felt the need for them. I have more problems with idiot drivers who pass me and cut me off when they make a right hand turn into a driveway, street or parking lot because they can’t wait an extra few seconds until I clear the intersection as they would have to do if I was a car in front of them. I’ve lost track of how many times I have had to slam on my breaks because of these drivers. Bike lanes do not solve this problem. While there are some very considerate drivers on the road, there are drivers out there who don’t seem to realize that people on bikes pay taxes too, taxes that goes to roadwork, and we have just as much to be on the road as anyone.

  • Gary Scobie

    As far as bike lanes are concerned, it seems clear that unless a road is already wide enough to simply add the lanes to existing pavement, then they should be left until the road itself is redeveloped, from a purely taxpayer perspective.

    Unfortunately this is not good news for the Waterfront Trail that makes its way along Lakeshore Road until it gets to Spencer Smith Park. It makes for a dangerous bicycle ride along that stretch from Burloak west for Ontarians and tourists from elsewhere who love to bike the Trail.

    Nevertheless, Lakeshore Road will need a full redevelopment to allow the three traffic lanes required plus the bike lanes and proper sidewalks. For Trail riders, 2019 cannot come soon enough, but it will have to do unless someone moves this redevelopment up on the calendar.