Nanaimo city councillors have recommended a $1.3-million cycle track for Albert Street between Pine Street and Milton Street. The city held a budget-focused finance and audit committee meeting Friday. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)

Nanaimo city councillors have recommended a $1.3-million cycle track for Albert Street between Pine Street and Milton Street. The city held a budget-focused finance and audit committee meeting Friday. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)

City of Nanaimo budgets for new $1.3-million bike lane on Albert Street

Potential property tax increase now at 3.6 per cent after finance and audit meeting Friday

A new $1.3-million bike lane project is being added to the budget as the City of Nanaimo comes closer to settling on its five-year financial plan.

A cycle track on Albert Street between Pine Street and Milton Street, which was not a staff recommendation and wasn’t in the city’s plans until 2026, was a late addition to the budget motioned by Coun. Tyler Brown at Friday’s finance and audit committee meeting.

The cycle track will be funded out of reserves, so it will not impact property taxes for 2021.

Brown noted that the city is already planning to construct a cycle track on Fourth Street from Harewood to Pine Street in 2021.

“Being able to go from VIU to downtown or downtown to VIU in one contiguous track would just be incredible…” he said. “It would connect an ever-increasing active neighbourhood, which is Harewood – from pedestrians to cyclists – well to our downtown and we’d really start to see the formation of what’s referred to as a minimum grid which is crucial for driving modal change and getting people out of their cars.”

Transportation manager Jamie Rose said city staff had encountered challenges with consultation, design and rising costs of an Albert Street cycle track, and had decided to take a step back.

However, staff say there is potential for COVID-19 resiliency grant money paying for the bike lane or a section of the bike lane if certain timelines can be met.

Coun. Ian Thorpe suggested he’d rather follow staff recommendations on priorities and timelines for project planning.

“To suddenly bump one up, I’m not comfortable with, especially when I hear staff say that it’s going to be challenging to even accomplish it,” Thorpe said.

The cycle track will be paid for using $1 million from the city’s special initiatives reserve and $300,000 from the strategic infrastructure reserve.

The motion passed by a 4-3 margin about six hours into the meeting after two members of council had left for other appointments. Councillors Thorpe, Zeni Maartman and Jim Turley were opposed and Mayor Leonard Krog and Coun. Sheryl Armstrong were absent.

RELATED: City of Nanaimo’s financial plan includes $314 million for projects

Also at Friday’s meeting, council voted in favour of another motion from Brown to increase spending on pedestrian improvement projects in 2021 from $300,000 to $1 million, with the additional $700,000 coming from the strategic infrastructure reserve. City director of engineering Poul Rosen cautioned that with the amount of time needed for project planning only a certain amount of pedestrian improvement work may be possible in 2021.

Exact projects were not specified, but staff presented a list of 11 potential projects including intersection work at Hammond Bay Road at Tiki Way and sidewalks on Rutherford Road between Butcher Road and Kenwill Drive.

Council voted 6-2 in favour of the additional pedestrian improvements with councillors Turley and Thorpe opposed and Armstrong absent.

Other budget decisions Friday included approval of six new staff positions including manager of sustainability, municipal services inspector, project engineer, buyer and two police services support positions: digital forensic technician and major case file specialist.

The projected property tax increase for 2021 now sits at 3.6 per cent. An e-town hall meeting for members of the public to weigh in on the financial plan is set for Monday, Dec. 7, at 7 p.m.

READ ALSO: City of Nanaimo begins budgeting with 3.3% tax increase as a starting point



editor@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

City Hall

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Emergency crews were called to a crash involving a car and a minivan Saturday afternoon at the old Island Highway and Mary Ellen Drive. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
One person taken hospital after crash in north Nanaimo

Car and minivan collided Saturday at the intersection of the old Island Highway and Mary Ellen Drive

Nanaimo Unique Kids Organization, a non-profit, seeks to raise $8,000 for a play structure to help children remain active during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Nanaimo Unique Kids Organization asking for help fundraising for play structure

Physical activities have been limited due to COVID-19 restrictions, says non-profit

Nadine Mourao and Catherine Andersen starred in ‘Mimi and Me’ by Kitty Dubin in last year’s Gabriola Players One-Act Play Festival. This year’s festival is taking place online due to COVID-19. (Photo courtesy Bill Pope)
Gabriola one-act play festival to be held online due to COVID-19

Submissions sought for plays that adhere to COVID-19 safety protocols

Canada’s chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam at a press conference last year. (Canadian Press photo)
LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Better federal vaccine planning badly needed

Why hasn’t Parliament done more to protect seniors and care homes, asks letter writer

Police in Nanaimo hope to find the owner of a Giant Reign mountain bike that was seized after a man was spotted riding it without a helmet on the wrong side of the road on Christmas Eve. (Photo submitted)
Nanaimo RCMP suspicious to find expensive bike covered in layer of duct tape

Police looking for owner of Giant Reign mountain bike that they believe was stolen

A still from surveillance footage showing a confrontation in the entranceway at Dolly’s Gym on Nicol Street on Friday morning. (Image submitted)
Troublemaker causes pain and damage at downtown Nanaimo gym

VIDEO: Suspect breaks fire alarm, slams door on business owner’s foot after attempting to defraud her

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
A unique-looking deer has been visiting a Nanoose Bay property with its mother. (Frieda Van der Ree photo)
A deer with 3 ears? Unique animal routinely visits B.C. property

Experts say interesting look may be result of an injury rather than an odd birth defect

Standardized foundation skills assessment tests in B.C. schools will be going ahead later than usual, from Feb. 16 to March 12 for students in Grades 4 and 7. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. teachers say COVID-affected school year perfect time to end standardized tests

Foundational skills testing of Grade 4 and 7 students planned for February ad March

Sooke’s Jim Bottomley is among a handful of futurists based in Canada. “I want to help people understand the future of humanity.” (Aaron Guillen - Sooke News Mirror)
No crystal ball: B.C. man reveals how he makes his living predicting the future

63-year-old has worked analytical magic for politicians, car brands, and cosmetic companies

Terry David Mulligan. (Submitted photo)
Podcast: Interview with longtime actor/broadcaster and B.C. resident Terry David Mulligan

Podcast: Talk includes TDM’s RCMP career, radio, TV, wine, Janis Joplin and much more

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza virtually nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials say country will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon shared a handwritten note his son received on Jan. 13, 2021. (Ravi Kahlon/Twitter)
Proud dad moment: B.C. minister’s son, 10, receives handwritten note for act of kindness

North Delta MLA took to Twitter to share a letter his son received from a new kid at school

Most Read