Sault city council wary about cost increase to Downtown Plaza project
Sault Ste. Marie Council is directing city staff to take another look at the Downtown Plaza project after administration asked for a budget increase.
With municipal budget deliberations just around the corner, administration asked for a $1.4 million increase to cover cost overruns, which would have brought the overall price of the project to more than $11 million. However, the full budget request was not granted.
Administration cited supply chain issues as the reason for its request, which is also the reason for a delay in the pouring of the plaza's concrete slab, which is to be used as a rink.
City councillor Angela Caputo suggested council grant half of the proposed increase, which the rest of council supported.
"I think for a project that the community has been so loud about opposing, that was a big ask last night," said Caputo.
Tom Vair, the city’s deputy CAO of community development and enterprise services, said the city will make do with the $660,000 increase approved by council.
"We were able to get about half the money that we had asked council for, so that will enable us to continue the project rolling," Vair said.
"We will be coming back to council on Feb. 13 at budget time with some additional information for them to make a final decision on the second half of that money."
Caputo, meantime, said while she supports development of the downtown, any investment should be a smart one.
"I understand that there are cost overruns, especially as a business owner," said Caputo.
"But I also understand that we can't, in business, we can't bleed the pot dry, especially on something that the community has so loudly been stating that they are opposed to."
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