The “Muskoka look and feel” will be retained in the Muskoka Lumber Community Centre, despite changes done to reduce how much it will cost to build.
Bracebridge’s General Committee approved a $58 million contract with Aquicon Construction Company Tuesday to undertake the building of the community centre, but “substantial” design changes had to be made to save money. The company originally came in with a bid just north of $66 million, which was almost $20 million more than town staff expected but shaved off around $8 million.
“While the tender was open we saw a very significant and unexpected surge in construction price inflation,” Paul Judson, Treasurer, says. He adds that inflation spiked steel and lumber and made it difficult to find people wanting to work outside of the “heated” Greater Toronto Area market.
As a result, Judson says the timing of a number of “discretionary projects” in the town’s long term capital plan have been moved around. He points specifically to the renovation of the municipal office and the second phase of the Salmon Avenue extension as examples. “Our goal was to minimize as much as possible how much debt the town needs for this project to reduce the impact that the community centre would have on our property tax levy,” Judson goes on to say.
The budget will be finalized in February, so he says it’s too early to tell if he and town staff’s “months” of rejigging worked.
“I think what people will see when they walk into the facility and they walk into either the arena, the multi-sport fieldhouse, or the library is exactly what they were looking to see,” Director of Recreation Cindy O’Regan says. She adds the majority of the changes will not affect programming.
“We were trying to revise the structure in order to reduce our teel tonnage,” she explains.
“We’ve recommended that we enter a stipulated price contract with Aquicon,” O’Regan says. What does that mean exactly? What has been approved by committee (and will be debated by council on December 22nd) is what will be in the building. O’Regan says there will not be any changes.
Judson says town staff will continue to “aggressively pursue” grant opportunities for this project.