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Committee wants update on capital projects

By Dave Flaherty/The Oshawa Express

More detailed information on the status of the city’s capital projects may be forthcoming to Oshawa council.

The city’s finance committee recently passed a motion directing staff to prepare an update on capital projects.

Ward 1 city councillor Rosemary McConkey said as capital projects are publicly funded, she believes more can be done to keep council updated on their status.

She referred to reports provided by staff in the City of Hamilton which included regular updates on capital projects.

Specifically, McConkey wants more information available on the total cost of projects in contrast to the original budget estimates.

Ward 5 regional councillor Brian Nicholson agreed more regular updates would be beneficial, although he acknowledged staff likely closely track all projects internally.

At the beginning of this term, Nicholson requested a list of the current outstanding capital projects on the city’s books.

“I was surprised to find out there are projects that were four or five years old that haven’t actually been actioned…and the money has just been sitting there,” Nicholson stated.

He pointed out that when projects get this far behind schedule, they become dated, and the money could be used for matters that are of higher priority.

While he said he didn’t want to “micromanage departments,” Nicholson said tracking projects closer would help council set its priorities around budget time.

These priorities must consider not only cost but the city’s ability to get the project done in a timely matter, Ward 3 regional councillor Bob Chapman stated.

Ward 2 regional councillor Tito-Dante Marimpietri supported the motion as well, but believed it could be simplified.

Although he voted in support, Ward 5 city councillor John Gray said he didn’t want it to become something that creates a great deal more work for staff.

“I don’t want this to turn into a whole housecleaning nightmare,” he said.