The $12.5 million Minden arena project saw its contingency fund plummet from the end of August to the end of September. Meanwhile, early details were released around a fundraising campaign for the building’s renewal at an Oct. 10 meeting.

Director of community services Mark Coleman said month-to-month, the contingency fund went from $298,811.15 to $137,024.04 – a drop of $161,787.11. A contingency fund is a reserve of money set aside to cover possible unforeseen future expenses.

He told council this largely stemmed from awarding some major contracts that will cost more than were anticipated. He said four to five key tenders had gone overbudget, such as for drywalling, light fixtures, window glazing, and flooring and tiling.

However, he added the project was “still on the good side of the ledger. September has been a big month for the project. Everything is progressing quite well.” He added there were no “alarm bells” on the part of the architect or builder.

McDonald Brothers (MBD) and Parkin Architects will be providing council with a look-ahead for the remainder of the project at a November committee of the whole meeting. Coleman said they were very close to finalizing most of the tenders.

Asked by Coun. Bob Carter for more specifics, Coleman said 90 per cent of tenders had been awarded in terms of dollars for the project.

Mayor Brent Devolin noted “earthworks almost buried us out of the gate” – $140,000 over-budget last April, but there are some anticipated savings as well, such as for landscaping.

Sneak peek in November

The arena fund raising committee has set a goal of $750,000 to put towards extras, or to offset costs. Coleman said they’ve come up with a hierarchy of donors with community founders at the top, then leaders, builders, sponsors and donors.

He said people could purchase a metre of the walking track; a square metre of ice; name rooms, donate cash, or specify cash towards identified items. He said the committee is also proposing events, such as dances, rides, charity hockey games and bringing in celebrities.

Coleman said all donors will be acknowledged on a wall of recognition and invited to official campaign ceremonies as well as the grand opening. “The wall of recognition will take the shape of a wall section centrally located within the main lobby of the new facility following the model hierarchy,” his written report to council said. “Other donor signage and plaque locations would be located appropriately throughout the facility.”

He estimated it would cost upwards of $40,000 to finance the fundraising campaign and for the donor wall, signage and plaques. Carter was uncomfortable with the concept of borrowing $40,000 from the township to offset the fundraising costs. He has always maintained that any costs related to the arena project should be accounted for within that project. He also suggested that any fundraising above the $750,000 should be used to offset project costs.

Coleman said the committee will launch the campaign on Nov. 26 at the Minden Community Centre, coinciding with a public sneak-peek and controlled walk through of the project site in partnership with MBC and Parkin Architects.

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