Newmarket is investing in new parks, recreation facilities and a website refresh as part of its $30.3-million capital budget.
The 2022 capital budget features funding for multi-year projects, including $2 million to start work on an outdoor skating rink outside the Ray Twinney Recreation Complex expected in 2023 and $3.5 million to start funding the massive Mulock Park project. Council vetted and gave tentative approval of the draft capital budget Oct. 18.
Mayor John Taylor said a lot is happening recreationally in the coming years.
“We got a very ambitious five to 10 year capital plan related to our trails, park and amenities,” Taylor said. “It’s going to be a very exciting period, but it’s going to take a lot of effort.”
Other capital projects include a new in-progress outdoor skateboard park expected to open in spring 2022, playground equipment at Glen Cedar Public School School and William Dunn to be funded in the operating budget, and sports pads expected for 2023. The budget also features funding items like roads and water system work ($7.7 million), recreation facility repair ($875,000) and roof replacement ($1 million).
Councillor Trevor Morrison questioned the dollar figure for pond cleanout at $780,000. Staff said there are legislative requirements to ensure the ponds are functioning properly, and a 2021 survey found that action was needed at several ponds, though staff are only addressing two this year
“It is quite costly to undertake stormwater pond cleanout,” director of infrastructure services commissioner Peter Noehammer said. “They are a very significant component and cost driver for the stormwater cost system.”
The town will also be spending $250,000 on a website fresh, with its last one in 2009. It did have minor adjustments in 2017, but staff said more is needed.
“Everyone in town and staff and council will very much appreciate a new website that’s easy to access information on,” Councillor Grace Simon said.
But councillors questioned several items deferred for future budgets. The deferrals include $1.82 million for trails and multi-use paths, which entails some work on the Mulock Multi-Use Pathway.
Noehammer said the project is waiting on future council decisions, as well as the completion of already funded 2021 work. But he said the municipality could still fund more work in 2022, potentially with $2 million in unallocated capital funding.
Councillor Bob Kwapis also questioned delaying on a $25,000 goose management study, meant in part to respond to complaints about poop at trails and parks. Noehammer said staff collectively felt other projects took more priority.
Council will review its operating budgets Nov. 8 before deciding on the final 2022 municipal budget Dec. 6.