Highlands East council is forging ahead with repairs to the Cardiff pool despite costs ballooning by $177,000 over budget.
CAO Shannon Hunter reported to council Nov. 10 that there was a lack of bids for the project, which includes repairs in the pool and mechanical room, as well as a replacement for the changeroom.
Originally budgeted at $200,000 this year, the only bids received were $130,788 + HST for the changeroom and $246,739 + HST for pool and mechanical room repairs.
Coun. Cam McKenzie read a prepared statement and said the municipality should go ahead with the repairs despite the costs, citing the important social aspect of the facility.
“It is difficult to put a value on a facility that’s taught hundreds of kids to swim over the past 50 years,” McKenzie said. “What is the value of getting our youth out of your home, away from computer screens, video games to enjoy sunshine, fresh air, and exercise?
“We are presented with a choice to continue with these opportunities for another 50 years. Let’s make it happen.”
McKenzie suggested the value looks better than what consultant WalterFedy put forward in a facility review December 2019. It recommended a replaced changeroom and mechanical room structure at a cost of $600,000. The consultant said ideally the pool would get replaced for $2.5 million but recognized that as a steep cost. McKenzie also noted a commercial-grade pool liner is included in the bid, something not considered in WalterFedy’s report.
Deputy Mayor Cec Ryall said he agreed with repairing the pool but questioned if the costs could be broken down.
“We should have a pool there. That’s not the issue here. Is there a way to separate some of the stuff, like the changeroom?” Ryall said. “Or are we faced with an all or none situation?”
Hunter said all three parts are needed – the mechanical room as a safety concern and the changeroom as an accessibility issue.
McKenzie suggested delaying the changeroom for another year. Ryall said it is worth considering if it could save $10,000-$15,000, given inflated material costs this year.
Coun. Suzanne Partridge said the project should move forward and disagreed with delaying.
“I’m not in favour of waiting and going out for tender again. It would be a gamble,” she said. “We have firm figures in front of us right now. If we’re going to do it, I think we really need to do it all next spring.”
Hunter reported contractors were advised the work must be completed by May 21, 2021. To pay for the added cost, council voted to budget the extra $177,527 plus HST in 2021.