Sidney overpass project bounced in favour of other priorities

Sidney Mayor Steve Price is losing his top project this year, as council sets its priorities and budget for 2015.

Sidney Mayor Steve Price is losing his top project this year, as council sets its priorities and budget for 2015.

A proposed pedestrian overpass of the Pat Bay Highway near Beacon Avenue has been cancelled for this year and pushed to 2016 at the earliest. At this point, Price said, it’s too expensive.

“This council is not impressed about having to pay 50 to 60 per cent of it,” he said.

The Town would have been able to pay for it with gas tax money — and not add to people’s tax burden — if not for preliminary engineering work that revealed ground conditions that forced up the overall price tag. The province had agreed to pay a portion of the overpass costs, but Price said the federal government has not yet responded to the Town’s request for infrastructure funds.

“Because we have so many other pieces of infrastructure in need, we really can’t justify paying for something that’s really provincial transportation infrastructure.”

Price added he still would like to see the pedestrian overpass built, but admitted it’ll just take longer.

Council, in the meantime, is setting its priorities for 2015 and fitting them into the budget. Price said Beacon Wharf and Bevan Pier will be studied  this year to see what can be done to improve them. Price said Sidney is asking the Capital Regional District to throw in some support in regards to studying whether a proposed Gulf Island passenger ferry service could be added at Beacon Wharf.

New wayfinding signage is in the work for the Anacortes Ferry terminal area, Price added. Those plans could use up council’s entire $15,000 for new signs.

Sidewalk projects are also on the list and council is looking at phasing in a controversial light industry tax increase over the next two years.

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