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Budget triples for Sechelt pool project

An updated budget of $117,000 for the rebuilding the water heating control system for the showers at Sechelt Aquatic Centre (SAC) was endorsed by the Sunshine Coast Regional District board (SCRD) on Jan. 26.
Sechelt Aquatic Centre 1 resized
The Sechelt Aquatic Centre

An updated budget of $117,000 to rebuild the water heating control system for the showers at Sechelt Aquatic Centre (SAC) was endorsed by the Sunshine Coast Regional District board (SCRD) on Jan. 26. The project was approved last year at a cost of $35,000 based on an estimate received in 2021.

The price change was debated earlier that same day by the SCRD’s committee of the whole. A staff report on the agenda of that meeting described the existing system as unreliable and unable to maintain consistent water temperatures leading to an “undesirable user experience for some patrons”.

”At times the temperature fluctuations have been so severe the shower temperature could be a safety concern,” the report stated.

The report stated that mechanical engineering consultants advised staff that upgrading of the control and recirculation system in the facility (which opened in 2007) was needed and provided the estimate. Following project approval in January 2022, the work was tendered that October and bids closed in early November.

One compliant bid of $95,000 plus GST was received from an off-coast contractor. Adding in $7,820 for engineering costs brought the adjusted budget for the work to $117,000. A 15 per cent contingency allowance is included in that new figure.

Staff estimated the upgrade could be completed by April with little disruption to facility operations. 

Cost escalation 're-runs'

During committee debate, paying more for required repairs at SAC was like watching “the same movie over and over again” according to Gibsons area director Silas White. Since the current board took office in November, an increased budget for the site’s fire sprinkler system upgrade was approved and an extensive recreation facilities capital funding report was considered in 2023 pre-budget meetings last December. As part of that, the board endorsed going to an alternate approval process this year to get the ”OK” from electors on investing $55,600 in roofing repairs for that building.

Area E director Donna McMahon questioned the “dramatic” cost increase. In response, staff advised that inflation, supply chain issues, a minor project scope change and the lack of locally based bids contributed to price escalation.

The committee inquired about re-tendering the work. Due to the safety risks for facility users and recent experiences with higher-than-anticipated price quotes coming in for projects put out for bid, further delay was not recommended by staff in attendance at the committee meeting.

Although Sechelt area director John Henderson expressed the need “to find ways to pay for this from somewhere else," the committee recommended the project proceed, with McMahon and Area D director Kelly Backs voting in opposition. In a board meeting that followed the recommendation was endorsed.