There was much debate from Prince George City Council about project cost overruns at tonight’s (Monday) meeting.

The list of top ten capital projects was released as part of the larger City of Prince George 2019 Annual Report.

The biggest topic of discussion was the George Street parkade project, originally supposed to have a budget of $12.613 million.

However, due to ‘significant’ issues, city staff says the parkade is now being budgeted at $17.9 million, and it’s still under construction.

Slated to be completed this year, the project will see 351 new parking spaces, including 289 underground spaces and 62 more on a surface lot.

“I’m just wondering how we could have got it so wrong,” said Councilor Brian Skakun, voicing his concern about the cost overrun.

“We have millions of dollars going out the door that, in my opinion, should have never have gone out of the door.”

Skakun followed his comments by putting forth a motion for staff to create a full cost breakdown of the project and bring it in front of Council.

“This can’t keep happening, there’s absolutely no way,” Skakun added.

Other Councillors were in agreement, voicing similar concerns.

“We are now eight months into the year and still not quite complete. I can imagine that it’s going to be a $20 million dollar parkade,” said Councillor Kyle Sampson.

$9,062,150 was spent on the project in 2019, the report says, and the grand total for spending as of December 31, 2019, is $17,967,571.

The City of Prince George has a delegation of authority bylaw, allowing the City Manager to approve costs for projects.

City Manager Kathleen Soltis pointed out the capital projects, including the parkade and its budget amendments, were brought towards the Finance and Audit Committee in November 2019.

Councilor Skakun noted earlier in discussions that changing the ‘scope’ of the project was not what the bylaw was originally supposed to be for, and Councilor Cori Ramsay agreed.

“This is one of the reasons why I moved that the delegation of authority be reviewed, just because I am a little uncomfortable where it’s at currently,” commented Ramsay.

“To get notified in the annual report that it (the parkade) is at 17.9 and has been approved under delegated authority, it just doesn’t sit well.”

The motion for a cost breakdown was passed unanimously by Council and will be brought forth at a meeting in the future.

Full report here: