New Maple Ridge Leisure Centre opens its doors this summer. (THE NEWS/files)

Healthy margin of error covered extra leisure centre costs

Maple Ridge’s new centre opens in August

The project that will see a totally transformed Maple Ridge Leisure Centre open its doors in August was done with a healthy margin of error in case there were surprises when extreme renovations started on the 37-year-old facility.

Surprises were found during the demolition and have added to the costs and delayed the opening from next spring to late summer, but Maple Ridge finance director Trevor Thompson says the project will fall within budget, if not below.

Council in February of this year approved a construction contract of $9.6 million for the project, which includes a new leisure pool, lazy river, larger hot tub, as well as a new lobby and universal changerooms.

While construction was costed at $9.6 million, a further 20 per cent of that amount was approved as a safety margin or contingency, bringing the final approved amount to $11.5 million. With about $900,000 in architectural fees added in, the total tab is $12.4 million.

But the city’s chief financial officer expects the final numbers to be below that.

“I think 20 per cent is a generous contingency,” Trevor Thompson on Thursday.

“I think it will come in under budget, from what I’ve been told,” he added.

Initially, simply replacing the pool and filtration system was priced at $5.5 million.

But replacing the lobby and building universal changerooms added another $3.5 million to the tab. .

Recreation general manager Kelly Swift emphasized the final cost won’t be known until everything’s complete.

But, “we are confident that we will not exceed the planned funding for this project.”

When it announced the start of the project in February, the city said it would be complete within 13 months and open by May 2019.

However, delays in the demolition phase such as discovering concrete encased conduits, that had to be removed and rerouted, and a buried concrete slab added three months to the project.

The Leisure Centre has more than 250,000 customer visits a year, the city said in announcing the project last Februay.

“When the pool reopens in 2019, it will look and feel like a completely new facility,” said Christa Balatti, city recreation manager.

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