Budget for new recreation complex set at $29 million

Budget for the Sylvan Lake NexSource Centre has been set at $29 million, after councillors met during a special meeting Tuesday night.

Budget for the Sylvan Lake NexSource Centre has been set at $29 million, after councillors met during a special meeting Tuesday night.

The multiplex redevelopment project has gone through revisions and additions since planning began and a budget of $18.5 million was set in 2012. That budget included the arena replacement, four-lane running track, an expanded front entry with concession, meeting room space, community organizations’ administration space, a child activity area, leasehold space, a seniors’ centre and a meeting/conference centre, according to a report provided to councillors by project manager David Yee.

At the same time, the town had approved $1.5 million funding for redevelopment of a curling rink which had a total project budget of $7 million. The difference was to come from other sources.

Subsequently, the curling building has been incorporated in plans for the NexSource Centre. Other changes were also made to the project earlier this year. Among those are that it will be built over 48th Street requiring removal of existing underground utilities, and it will fully incorporate the aquatic centre and the multiplex built in 2006 as “one large, centralized facility”.

A design charette, held May 26-28, resulted in the current concept and an estimated budget of $29 million.

During their meeting Tuesday, councillors were presented with two scenarios, the first that the budget be set at $29 million and the second that it be set at $25 million.

“In order to reach a project budget of $25 million, the architect will be required to substantially reduce the current footprint and incorporate other cost-cutting solutions,” Yee wrote.

Councillors also received a draft of the project from CEI Architecture which included an anticipated cost of $35.2 million. That number included significant contingencies. Also GST was included in the price, however the town recoups 100 per cent of its GST expense.

Yee described the numbers as very conservatively estimated and felt the $29 million proposal was achievable.

Based on council’s approval of a $29 million budget, debt financing would be used to cover $13 million which would bring the town’s total debt limit as high as 67 per cent.

Other sources of funding include franchise fees ($4 million) other sources ($2.55 million), inter-municipal contributions ($2 million), fundraising and sponsorship ($2 million), recreation capital reserve ($1.85 million), taxes ($1.5 million), MSI Capital Grant ($2 million) and Kraft Hockeyville ($100,000).

Councillor Megan Chernoff asked for assurance that the proposed budget would include everything needed to do the project right.

Betty Osmond, the town’s chief administrative officer, said the $35 million cost provided was based on “pretty soft numbers. It’s a very conservative estimate until detailed design is complete. They’re erring on the side of caution.”

One of the items noted was an 18 per cent contingency for design, escalation and construction ($5.19 million). GST was also included at $1.76 million.

Concerned about the debt servicing level, Councillor Dale Plante said, “getting into the 60s, we have to be diligent in the future that anything we can chew off we do. Obviously we’re going ahead getting this thing done, but when we have money come in maybe it would be more prudent to pay this down if we can.”

He added, “I’m prepared to cut things off this building if we have to to meet the budget.”

“I feel that $29 million is my all in,” said Councillor Jas Payne, but he also indicated he felt “it’s going to be very difficult to sell a $29 million building to the public to begin with.”

Councillors unanimously approved the $29 million budget. Councillors Matt Prete and Chris Lust were absent from the meeting.