City councillors in Thunder Bay, Ont., agreed to dip a little deeper into municipal coffers to help fund a project to build a pavilion at the site of an old bandstand at a north side park.
A citizens group that advocates for Waverley Park has been working to get a pavilion built where the old rotary bandstand stood for decades. The city put the contract out for tender in September but the bid came in about $100,000 higher than administration and the friends group had budgeted.
"To be perfectly frank, I think no one around this table is particularly happy that the tender has come in over and I think that that's probably fair," said Coun. Andrew Foulds. "It wasn't anticipated that the cost would come in as it did."
A memo from city administration pointed to a number of possible factors that pushed up the cost, including an increase in timber prices — estimated at between 60 and 70 per cent — due to demand for the products after natural disasters, like hurricanes and flooding in the United States as well as wildfires in British Columbia and additions to the project, like upgrades to lighting and electrical and steps and handrails.
At issue, is that the construction must be completed by March 31, 2018 in order for the project to qualify for over $95,000 in funding from FedNor.
"We can't blame ourselves, we can't blame the coalition for some of those things that were outside our control," Foulds said.
The original cost for the pavilion was projected to be just under $200,000, of which the Coalition for Waverley Park fundraised $20,000, the city agreed to contribute $76,000 and the FedNor grant covered the rest. Foulds tabled a resolution Monday, which council agreed to, that will see the city also pay for the $101,000 cost overrun, with any subsequent fundraising efforts by the citizens group refunded to the city.
"The citizens have done amazing work in terms of the development of this park," Foulds continued. "They've done herculean work in terms of other projects. I think they've demonstrated their due diligence."
Administration proposed a series of cutbacks to the pavilion that could save about $100,000, such as removing all lighting and electrical service, scaling back on masonry work and removing planned stairs and handrails but Foulds argued such cuts would diminish the structure's usefulness.
"It's just my view that if we cheap out now and do half a job, will the actual job get done in the future?" Foulds said.