Skip to content
Join our Newsletter

Prince George city council frustrated as George Street Parkade is $5.3M over budget

Project hasn’t been completed yet, either
park house
The George Street Parkade is also the foundation for the Park House Condos. (via Hanna Petersen)

Prince George city council expressed frustration with project-cost overruns as one of its downtown parkades is about $5.3 million over budget.

Originally set at $12.6 million, the new parkade at the corner of George Street and Sixth Avenue, which also serves as the foundation for the Park House Condo development, is now costing the city $17,967,571.

The project is not yet complete either, but is expected to be later this year.

“This shows there’s been cumulative spending upwards of $17.9 million, however, the initial budget on the project was around $12.6 million,” said Coun. Cori Ramsay, during council’s review of the 2019 annual report at last night’s meeting (Aug. 31).

General Manager of Planning Ian Wells confirmed the cost overruns were approved by City Manager Kathleen Soltis under her delegated authority.

Wells said there were significant issues with the project including problems with groundwater, fibre optics and the price of steel.

“I am wondering how we got it so wrong,” said Coun. Brian Skakun. 

george st. parkadeFrom the 2019 annual report. (via City of Prince George)

“I am really challenged with this from the Willow Cale Bridge and other projects with significant cost overruns with. In my mind, there’s not a lot of clarity of why those cost overruns are there.”

Skakun said he sat on the original committee who introduced the delegation of authority bylaw that allows the city manager to approve certain overrages.

“The intent was never to let the city manager change the scope of the project or add millions of dollars to a project after council okayed the budget.”

He moved that a full report on the breakdown of spending for the George Street Parkade project be brought back to council for review.  

When asked, city staff also did not have the cost of the project has incurred in 2020 on hand.

“It’s $6 million over budget almost with a couple. I’m sure a couple more million, we are going to be looking at a $20-million parkade,” said Skakun.

“I think it’s unacceptable and we need to see some changed. This can’t keep happening and we need to see some changes.”

Ramsay added she thinks it’s incredibly important the project comes back for review.

“This is one of the reasons why I moved that the delegation of authority be reviewed because I am a little uncomfortable with where it’s at currently. This council approved a parkade for $12.6 million and to get notified in the annual report that it’s at $17.9 million and it’s been approved under delegated authority it doesn’t sit well with me.”

Soltis said included the budget increase in list of significant capital projects that went to the finance and audit committee in November.

"I will say I have expressed previously that I have been uncomfortable where the delegated authority is at for a while and I’m glad it got support from my council colleagues to come back for review."

Skakun’s motion to have staff prepare a cost breakdown of the George Street Parkade project was also approved unanimously by council.