Badly needed restoration work at the city’s aquatic centre began last week. But cost increases have scaled back the work.

Badly needed restoration work at the city’s aquatic centre began last week. But cost increases have scaled back the work.

Terrace pool upgrades scaled back due to spiralling costs

Bids to maintain the city's aquatic centre came in at nearly double what the city had first estimated

Spiralling costs have forced the city to scale back the work needed to preserve its aquatic centre.

A first cost estimate of $310,500 to, among other items, stabilize the centre’s crumbling west wall, paled when two bids for the work came in at more than $600,000 each, city council learned at its June 9 meeting.

“Sorry I don’t have better news,” leisure services director Carmen Didier told council as she explained why the estimated price tag had doubled since last fall.

“It is what it is,” said mayor Dave Pernarowski, who along with the rest of council carried a motion to proceed with a revised project plan.

Back in 2012 Bruce Carscadden Architects Inc. prepared a 86-page report commissioned by the city that outlined various ideas and cost estimates that originally included a glass wall and a waterside. Because of budgetary concerns the city elected last fall to proceed with only basic upgrades.

This was to include rebuilding the west wall, painting the interior of the existing centre, as well as improvements to mechanical, heating, ventilation and power distribution, at the estimated cost of $310,500.

“So that was considerably higher than what we had budgeted for because when we estimated the cost of the west wall we based the rebuild on what we did on the east wall,” said Didier.

“The new present day-building codes meant we also add columns,” said Didier in further explaining the high cost of the work now needed on the structure. The additional work includes replacing structural support beams.

Didier consequently had the building plan revised with the downscaled vision at a final cost of $410,000.

Genuine Contracting Ltd. was the lowest bidder and the company began work last week with an expected completion date of the end of August.

Didier said the cost could rise higher depending on how much deterioration they find when they open up the west wall, which has been crumbling for years.

The city decided to accept Didier’s recommendation to scale back the plan, removing everything from the upgrade list except for the wall rebuild and upgrade of the ventilation system.

“It’s a matter of relocating the funds we have set aside for the project into the wall and ventilation,” Didier said.

“Sad to see that the painting isn’t being done,” said councillor Stacey Tyers.

The pool will be closed for part of the time that the renovations are being done, but Didier said employees will do their best to keep it open for as long as possible during phases of the work.