Another $400,000 will have to be allocated to help fund a major retrofit and expansion at the Cowichan Aquatic Centre.
In March, it was announced that a $2,377,000 grant from the Federal Gas Tax Fund will be allocated to the project, but councils and staff of both Duncan and North Cowichan learned at a joint meeting on Sept. 4 that the costs are now estimated to be approximately $2,810,400.
A draft design was completed by Vic Davies Architecture in 2016 that estimated the costs at the time to be $2,377,000, but, due to excessive escalation of construction costs over the last year in the southern Vancouver Island area, those costs have gone up.
Based upon the funding agreement for the aquatic centre between the City of Duncan and the Municipality of North Cowichan, both councils decided on Tuesday to recommend that North Cowichan pay $348,000, or 87 per cent, of the increased costs, while Duncan would pay the remaining $52,000, or 15 per cent.
The decision has yet to be formally ratified by both councils.
Duncan Mayor Phil Kent said that people have to understand that, between the design of such projects and the actual construction, time goes by and costs go up.
“Inflation and other issues come into play as we work towards meeting the full scope of the project,” he said.
“The grant we received from the federal gas tax for this project is significant, but some local taxes will likely have to be spent to build a facility that will meet the long-term needs of the area.”
North Cowichan Mayor Jon Lefebure said when the gas tax funding was announced in March that the aquatic centre is more than a pool and a gym; it’s an integral part of the community.
Since the aquatic centre opened in 2008, its swim club has expanded significantly, outgrowing the very limited space on the pool deck where warm-ups, cool-downs and training occur.
In addition, the fitness and wellness portion of the building is overcrowded and unable to expand its programming.
Plans for the upgrade and expansion, which is expected to begin in 2019, include relocating the current storage area on the pool deck, creating more space for swim clubs, and adding folding bleachers behind the diving boards to improve spectator access.
The renovation will also reconfigure and expand the facility’s upstairs gym, expand the group fitness rooms, and create some private areas for training and user intakes.