The deck is there, but Riverfront Centre visitors won’t be able to enjoy the view outside until council opts to finish the balcony.
Trail officials unanimously agreed to put the outdoor patio on hold after the project finishes, which include a 42-inch glass railing, came in $20,000 over budget.
At first glance, the overage appears minimal. After all, that’s much less than one per cent of the building’s total $8.3 million budget.
But Chief Administrative Officer David Perehudoff cautions there’s more to the decision than that.
“The Project Manager presented a current budget projection that showed $40,000 remaining, so the added expense is a concern from this perspective,” he pointed out.
“Especially when considering that the capital budget was already increased from $6.288 million to $8.3 million.”
New parking spots for the library/museum are another barrier that led to council’s deferral during the Monday governance meeting.
“The city is going to have to fund the adjacent parking lot next year,” Perehudoff told the Trail Times.
“And in this regard, it is hoped that there will be sufficient funding left to deal with this from the budget,” he clarified.
“If the city has to fund this additional expense directly from capital, it would likely result in other priority project(s) being deferred.”
Council is committed to try to refocus on core services such as road improvements, which have been effectively delayed during this time of significant expenditure for major capital projects, Perehudoff added.
“Providing appropriate parking would be seen as a much higher priority and is likely to cost several hundred thousand dollars to complete. The deck space is not fully accessible and this is also a consideration in the context of deferral.”
He was referring to the present design, which is not wheelchair-friendly because there is a step-down to access the outdoor space.
“Absolutely there is a problem with access to it,” says Chair of the Riverfront Centre Committee, Coun. Robert Cacchioni. “If someone wanted to go down there is a step, and the deck isn’t big enough to put in a full ramp.”
Cacchioni says the concrete patio has brackets in place for the future railing, but to finish it, levelling and a base finish is required as well as drainage.
News of the patio being put on hold is disappointing, and he’s already heard this message from the community.
But on a brighter note, Cacchioni says the inside finishes are dazzling.
“They are doing the floor polishing, it’s polished cement with colour to it,” he explained. “It’s beautiful … we are going to glaze it so it’s not slippery … and the skylight is just spectacular, when you walk in and look up, you’ll see the sky.”
Cacchioni confirmed the Riverfront Centre is on track to open Feb. 1.