The North Cariboo Joint Planning Committee directed staff at a meeting held January 26, 2016 to negotiate a contract for the construction of the West Fraser Centre with Vic Van Isle Construction (VVI). The selection of the Kelowna based company was based on a range of criteria including their fee proposal, work plan and schedule, experience of personnel assigned to the project, and their use of local trades. VVI proposes an aggressive schedule that anticipates construction to start in the early spring of 2016, with substantial completion of the new building anticipated as early as the spring of 2017. VVI will utilize a significant number of local trades in the project and will be using a local contractor as their site superintendent.
The Committee reviewed the total estimated project costs at the January 26 meeting and set a budget ceiling of $20.6 million, which will include all construction, architectural design, project management and site development costs. Staff will be working with VVI and the project manager to bring the project costs down below this maximum ceiling without significantly diminishing the functionality and the utilization of this new community asset. The decisions from the North Cariboo Joint Committee will now go to the Cariboo Regional District Board of Directors meeting on February 10, 2016, for final endorsement.
Price inflation for the project is a result of the combination of a significantly depressed Canadian dollar and that the steel and the major mechanical components for the arena need to be sourced from the United States. The bid price reflects significant cost savings made by the Committee to the original concept design. If the Committee had not made these changes prior to the Request for Proposal process, the fee proposal would have been substantially higher.
“There are no incremental tax implications for sub-regional recreation taxpayers as a result of this decision and no reduction in funding for other North Cariboo Recreation and Parks programs and services,” states Committee Co-Chair, Mayor Bob Simpson. “The project will be completed within the $7.5 million borrowing and taxation authority obtained through the 2014 referendum.” Simpson also notes that the incremental costs will be covered by capital reserves within the North Cariboo Recreation and Parks budget.
“The Committee believes that delaying or re-designing the project will not result in any gains,” says Committee Co-Chair, Cariboo Regional District (CRD) Electoral Area B Director Jerry Bruce. “It will only result in a diminished project for the same or even greater cost.”
“The CRD and the City of Quesnel are deeply disappointed that there is still no federal contribution toward this critical recreation amenity,” Simpson says, noting that the CRD’s submission to the Federal Gas Tax Strategic Priorities Fund for $6 million was unsuccessful.
“We are committed to keeping this project on track, on time, and on budget,” Bruce says. “While the project cost is higher than anticipated, it will not result in a taxation increase. We can look forward to seeing this exciting community project under construction soon.”
The construction schedule remains on track as a result of this decision with construction expected to start in the early spring with mobilization, site prep, foundation and concrete structural work. Completion of the steel superstructure and roof structure will be completed prior to the start of winter 2016. Substantial completion of the arena is anticipated by the end of May 2017, with demolition of the existing arena and construction of parking areas and landscaping to follow. Final completion of the project and occupancy of the new building are planned for mid-August, 2017.