The Cottonwood Park campsite was in use by several RVs on Sunday, Sept. 12. (Rebecca Dyok photo)

The Cottonwood Park campsite was in use by several RVs on Sunday, Sept. 12. (Rebecca Dyok photo)

Budget increase approved to complete Cottonwood Park campsite electrification project

Hydro pole needing to be replaced

The District of Fort St. James will be spending some extra money to complete phase one of the Cottonwood campsite electrification project.

Mayor and council approved a budget increase of $8,885.45 for a total project budget of $92,643.45 at a regular council meeting Tuesday, Sept. 14.

A hydro pole located on Lakeshore Drive needs to be replaced, allowing for the installation of three phase transformers to fully complete phase one of the project nearing completion.

An invoice by BC Hydro shows a balance of $24,214.35 for construction costs to replace the existing pole dated to the early 1960s that is not suitable for the new power requirements

The additional costs were not accounted for at the time of the grant application in February.

Chief administrative officer David Schroeter told mayor and council he does not believe the district will have to change their financial plan bylaw to account for the budget increase.

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“In its current state, the overages and underages on a number of projects will eventually total out, but we will note it on the upcoming amendment financial plan bylaw that administration will be providing once we’ve clarified the costs for a handful of projects,” he said.

A budget of $83,758 had been approved for the project in which 70 per cent is funded by the Northern Development Initiatives Trust and 30 per cent by the District of Fort St. James.

Before the approval of the recent budget increase, the project had come in under budget by $15,328.90.

A timber frame structure modeled after the buildings at Fort St. James National Historic Site was installed earlier this year, providing access to power to campers allowing them to park their RVs at the beach for extended periods.

Ten campsites are available at Cottonwood Park.

Economic development officer Brooke Eschuk said phase two would consist of improving the six sites along the roadside at a later date.

“That will probably require grant funding, and we haven’t gotten that yet,” she said.

The district has launched a public survey seeking community feedback about potential development at Cottonwood Park and waterfront area.

Eschuk said a couple of new play structures have recently been installed.

“Things are coming along,” she added. “We’re also going to be installing a few pieces of adult exercise equipment as well.”

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Fort St. James