Montreal Biodôme overhaul delayed as price tag jumps another $3.5M

The Biodôme has been closed since April for a renovation project that will end up costing the city $27.8 million. The original price tag was supposed to be $24.6 million.

Opening day pushed back to December after crews uncover unforeseen issues that need repair

The new Biodôme will offer more natural light and an elevated walkway over its five environments. (Radio-Canada)

Renovations to the Montreal Biodôme will cost the city even more than expected. Officials now say an additional $3.5 million is needed to complete the project.

And opening day has been pushed back from September to December.

The Biodôme has been closed since April for a renovation project that will end up costing the city $27.8 million (taxes included) — a figure that has continued to rise since planning began.

Last year, the city earmarked around $16 million for the renovation project, but even the lowest bid for the contract was well above that. 

The Unigesco Group offered to do the project for $22.4 million. Their bid was accepted by the city's executive committee. Another $2.2 million was eventually tacked on as unforeseen expenses came to light.

City council will vote Monday on the newest price hike.

City officials say the spending increase is necessary to complete the project and, if council votes against it, renovations would come to a screeching halt.

To justify this increase, administrative documents mention "numerous discoveries following the demolition work" that were "not identified during exhaustive surveys and exploratory wells," according to Radio-Canada.

The documents indicate that, by January, renovations were about 33 per cent complete.

Renovations to the Montreal Biodôme began in the spring. It is now scheduled to reopen in December. (Espace pour vie)

Thousands of animals, forced to move during construction, should be reintroduced between September and December. Originally that process was supposed to begin in June.

The nearby Insectarium is also set to undergo a makeover, estimated to cost $36.4-million. It will close for two years starting in March.

The city hopes the changes will boost the Insectarium's annual revenues by $4.3 million, helping it attract 475,000 visitors each year.

The Biodôme opened in 1992, inside the building that served as the velodrome during the 1976 Olympics. 

Dubbed "Migration 2.0," the renovations will add two new walkways, elevators, office space and a gazebo where visitors can observe the ecosystems from above.

With files from Radio-Canada


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