Big price difference

Until the estimated costs of a project are calculated, there is no way to make a decision whether the work should be done.

Until the estimated costs of a project are calculated, there is no way to make a decision whether the work should be done.

The cost estimates for a proposed multi-use trail along Okanagan Lake vary wildly.

When the project was proposed a couple of years ago, the cost of the work was estimated at $850,000.

Now that the Summerland Rotary Club has become involved with the project, club members estimate $52,000 to $55,000 for the work.

A lower cost estimate from the Summerland Rotary Club makes sense.

The Rotary proposal calls for a crushed stone surface, not a paved surface as originally suggested. It also calls for volunteer labour to do the work involved in preparing the trail.

Even with these differences, it is hard to see how the two cost estimates could differ so much.

If the $850,000 estimate seems high, the $55,000 estimate seems low.

A good cost estimate is important for any project as funds must be set aside to pay for the work.

Budgeting for a $55,000 project is not the same as budgeting for an $850,000 project.

For a relatively inexpensive project, it is easy to acquire the necessary funding through community drives and initiatives.

The higher figure would likely require grant funding arrangements with the province, the federal government or both.

If such arrangements also require money from the municipality, questions will be raised about whether this is the best use of limited tax dollars.

There is much to be said in favour of the trail proposal, but without the costs, it is hard to know whether such a project should go ahead.

Right now, the numbers do not provide the enlightenment which is needed.