Riverfront Centre size shrunk to fit budget

The new Riverfront Centre is going to be a little bit smaller after costs came in $3.7 million over budget.

The new Riverfront Centre is going to be a little bit smaller after costs came in $3.7 million over budget.

Based on a concept plan and budget developed in early 2014, the city took the matter of borrowing for a new library/museum to referendum last year. Overwhelmingly support was received during the November civic election, allowing Trail to take out a $6.3 million loan to construct the new facility.

What a difference a year makes because the city’s current estimate nears $10 million.

So to cut costs, and bring the project back into the realm of possibility, the city’s building committee opted to reduce the facility’s size by 2,000-square feet.

“What exactly is going to be lost is very difficult to say at this point,” clarified Trail Mayor Mike Martin. “I know there is going to be a redesign of some stair access and things like that, but it’s too early to say more,” he added.

“But the one commitment that we provided, and is understood through all of this, is it will not impact the services and the facility will be an exciting new feature for downtown Trail.”

The project’s total expense now stands at $7.7 million.

That’s after reducing the building’s footprint to 15,000-square feet, taking into account the net loan of $6.2 million, and factoring in $500,000 from Columbia Basin Trust.

What’s left is a $974,000 overage that Martin maintains that will not further impact Trail taxpayers.

Instead, council is tasked with managing the city’s capital works program to ensure the capital budget doesn’t blow up to accommodate the additional construction costs.

That commitment will most likely take two or three years of planning and result in other capital projects being delayed.

“Generally the capital budget runs a little over $2 million (annually),” explained Martin. “So one of the things discussed Monday afternoon was that during our 2016 capital budget deliberations, we will look at how we incorporate the $900,000 moving forward.

“We won’t be raising the capital budget, maybe other projects will be deferred,” he added.

“But we will be setting priorities and with good management I think we can accommodate this.”

Trail council opted to hire a project manager (PM) for the Riverfront Centre in October.

The decision was part of lessons learned from the pipe/pedestrian bridge, another project that came in well above the estimated budget earlier this year.

Dedicated to overseeing the facility’s design and construction, the PM’s role is to protect the interest of the city.

After the building committee was presented with the $10 million budget, the PM prepared a Nov. 10 summary that identified cost variances between the 2014 concept report and current market conditions.

From there, the group met with project manager (from MMM Group), reviewed the project scope and weighed the value of certain building components relative to goal, which is a new integrated facility that rejuvenates the south end of town.

The committee came to a consensus on building adjustments that would not impact the final library/museum space.

A multi-purpose room and area for a kitchen were removed from the conceptual design as well as redundant staircase.

The next phase is to hire an architect.

“We certainly had some challenges with regard to our capital works moving forward,” Martin concluded.

“We still have our layout done by the original architect, now we have to get to the details… during the final stage of design to see what can fit into the new footprint.”

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