Sylvan Lake multiplex price tag still climbing

The cost of Sylvan Lake’s new multiplex has jumped almost 10 per cent to $33.5 million as council got the latest price estimates and approved some design changes.

The cost of Sylvan Lake’s new multiplex has jumped almost 10 per cent to $33.5 million as council got the latest price estimates and approved some design changes.

Town council voted on Monday to boost the project’s cost by $2.95 million rather than lose key upgrades, including the option of converting the five-sheet curling rink into an NHL-sized ice surface, which carries a price tag of $1.6 million.

New additions to the project include upgrades to the Aquatic Centre’s aging air handling systems ($350,000), matching exterior cladding with existing and new parts of the facility ($970,000) and developing program space in the area set aside for future rink expansion ($275,000).

Other recommendations that came out of a three-day workshop with engineers, cost estimators, design team members, town staff and architects include: heated entrance pads to melt snow, adding an Aquatic Centre sprinkler system, and improvements to lobby, kitchen and concession among other changes.

The project task force, which includes councillors, community-at-large members, and representatives of local sports, community and seniors groups, considered but rejected the elimination of the additional rink expansion potential to save money.

Town communications officer Joanne Gaudet said given Sylvan’s continued growth, largely driven by incoming young families, council felt it best to keep its options open.

“In the end, this allows us to expand to a third ice surface if required,” she said.

Dave Brand, Sylvan Lake’s public works manager, said if the expansion was not included the town would face a much larger bill if it wanted to build a stand-alone arena in the future.

“It’s about function. Certainly we could build a cheaper building, but then it would be less functional and in five, 10 or 15 years from now people might look back and say why didn’t they just spend the extra $2.95 million back then.”

Council’s biggest debate in a special meeting on Monday to discuss the project revolved around whether to reduce program space to save money or stick to the original

Also dismissed by the task force were proposals to switch the curling rink and hockey arenas to pre-engineered buildings at a possible cost savings of nearly $3 million.

However, those changes would mean delaying opening by up to six months and could see cost increases in other portions of the budget, says the report.

However, the task force did recommend construction changes that will save about $720,000.

To cover the cost increases, council proposes boosting the amount of provincial Municipal Sustainability Initiative funding to $4.6 million from $2.6 million, while reducing costs on Lakeshore Drive and Centennial Street projects. Council also plans to raise the target for funding from fundraising, corporation donations and sponsorships to $3 million from $2 million. The amount the town plans to borrow would remain unchanged at $13 million.

pcowley@bprda.wpengine.com

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