Supply chain delays and increased costs are affecting City of Parksville projects, as with many other municipalities.
Parksville council approved a number of amendments to the city’s 2022-2026 financial plan following a presentation by Jedha Holmes, director of finance, that highlighted the challenges of completing projects as costs balloon and orders are pushed back.
Holmes said backed-up supply chains mean the city will need to order replacement vehicles as soon as possible — and even then could wait between 18 months and two years for delivery.
“There’s some suppliers that are saying, ‘get your orders in in January, that’s your last opportunity for the year’,” Holmes said during council’s Dec. 5 meeting. “Just because the supply chain is so delayed.”
Vehicles including a parks truck ($145,000), a parks and roads truck ($85,000), a sander ($17,000), a salter ($17,000), a flat deck crane ($50,000) and a tandem axle dump truck ($241,150) were hoped to be delivered this year, but will now be budgeted for 2023.
Holmes said a parks truck approved by council earlier this year had gone up in price by $60,000 between March and June.
The previous council gave three readings to the city’s five-year financial plan bylaw in May, but several amendments needed council direction and approval.
The plan sets out financial requirements needed for city departments to carry out operations and projects for the next half decade.
Funds for new and ongoing projects in Parksville Community Park, including the gathering plaza, an additional washroom facility, sports courts, playground resurfacing and accessibility and safety upgrades were shifted from the 2022 budget year to 2023, when they are expected to be completed.
Holmes also brought proposed amendments related to new funding, such as money from the Province of B.C.’s Local Government Climate Action Program ($127,000 per year for three years), which replaced the previous program’s annual funding of approximately $9,000.
Three fire department pickup trucks due for replacement will arrive in 2023 and at a higher cost. A fire truck hose expense was also moved from 2022 to the 2023 budget because of a delay.
The city’s website redesign project was also shifted to next year’s budget and increased in cost from $30,000 to $75,000 in 2023. Other IT projects like a cybersecurity audit, in progress, and a server replacement were moved from the 2022 budget to 2023, when they are expected to wrap up.
Also rolled over to 2023 were elevator upgrades to the Parksville Civic and Technology Centre (PCTC), the city’s urban forest strategy and the species at risk tree management program.
Council’s code of conduct and accessibility plan will need to be updated based on new legislation by the provincial government.
Staff also sought direction from council on adding the cost of demolishing two houses adjacent to the fire hall, which is necessary to allow for future expansion, Holmes said.
The city has purchased and has possession of both houses, one of which may be used for firefighting training purposes.
Also added to the financial plan is the allocation of $100,000 from the COVID Restart grant for technology upgrades to the PCTC forum, such as new microphones for councillors, more wireless technology and possibly a digital interface for the council chamber, according to Keeva Kehler, the city’s chief administration officer.
Staff also recommended creating a community park contingency fund, to prepare for incidental utilities upgrades expected to arise during construction of the Gathering place and related projects.
Kehler said when crews break ground for a project, there is a good chance they will come across aging city infrastructure in need of replacement.
“We have a lot of problems with our infrastructure in the park,” she said. “We’ve had to close the washrooms a number of times due to the pipes not being a sufficient size and water pressure issues. We also have a lot of inefficient unlooped irrigation lines and things that have been piece-meal put in at different times.”
The contingency fund will save costs by allowing for repairs to be made while crews are on site working on projects in the park. Increased materials costs have eaten up contingencies included in project budgets, Holmes said.
“We would take advantage of the opportunity while they have their equipment mobilized to update that pipe, for example,” Holmes said. She added the city’s contingency accounts have not been used much this year and there is approximately $790,000 that could be set aside for the community park contingency fund, although the full amount would not necessarily be used.
Mayor Doug O’Brien said with inflation on the rise, time is of the essence and it makes sense to establish that contingency fund for the community park.
“If we find items in the community park that they weren’t aware of, they can actually address that right away,” he said. “They know they have the money. They don’t have to come to us for consideration, not that we take our time doing those things, but the whole process takes time.”
Council voted unanimously to receive the staff recommendations and direct staff to prepare an amendment bylaw.