Commission members listen to the bad news from the architect on Wednesday night. From left to right: Castlegar Mayor Bruno Tassone, Area I Director Andy Davidoff, RDCK General Manager of Community Services Joe Chirico, Area J Director Rick Smith. (Photo: John Boivin)

Commission members listen to the bad news from the architect on Wednesday night. From left to right: Castlegar Mayor Bruno Tassone, Area I Director Andy Davidoff, RDCK General Manager of Community Services Joe Chirico, Area J Director Rick Smith. (Photo: John Boivin)

Cold water thrown on Castlegar community complex upgrades

Too much work with too little time to do it might derail application for millions in grants

A last-ditch effort by the Castlegar and District recreation commission to access funds to upgrade the Community Complex hit a major snag Wednesday night.

And it only took a single phone call from the project’s architect to do it.

“We have a tough road ahead obviously,” said commission chair Bergen Price, after the meeting.

“You can only play the hand you’re dealt, and it doesn’t look like we’re dealing with a hand we can win. That’s a little bit disheartening at this point.”

Commissioners had called the unscheduled meeting to hear options on how they could build upgrades to the recreation complex.

RELATED: Give us options for Castlegar Complex upgrades, rec commissioners tell staff

The project was narrowly rejected by voters in a referendum last summer, but a federal-provincial grant announced in the fall could allow much of it to be paid for without burdening taxpayers.

If the project is to go ahead, the rec commission has to get its application in for funding by Jan. 23.

Castlegar and District recreation manager Jim Crockett submitted a report filled with numbers outlining several scenarios, from doing much-needed repair work, to adding a new leisure pool, fitness centre or social hub.

He also broke down the costs to show the impact each different scenario would have on taxpayers.

Commissioners planned to choose from those options next week and direct staff to prepare a grant application to access up to $13 million in funding from the provincial and federal governments to pay for it.

But a phone call from the project’s architect, Paul Fast of HCMA Architecture and Design, brought the proceedings to a grinding halt.

‘Late in the game’

“To be perfectly frank, it’s getting pretty late in the game,” said Fast.

Then he dropped the bombshell.

“The application requires what they call a ‘Class C’ cost estimate,” he told the commissioners. “We’ve heard varying degrees of interpretation, but typically a ‘Cost C’ comes after a schematic design,” he said.

“And you’re not there yet,” he warned. “So you need to gain a further understanding from the ministry as [to] what they’re looking for under that requirement as that is a major component of the application.”

Right now the project has a ‘Class D’ cost estimate, the most general one. Getting a firmer grasp on the numbers would take weeks, and cost tens of thousands of dollars.

And that wan’t all.

“Beyond the cost question, there are specific questions to the environmental costs of the project… things like greenhouse gas emissions, and energy usage,” Fast said, noting the federal government requires this as part of its environmental priorities. “It is difficult to answer those questions without a mechanical engineer at the table.”

‘You do not have a project right now’

The commission is nowhere near that point, and the politicians at the table know it.

“This is not a grant we can just throw together,” RDCK manager of community services Joe Chirico told the board. “You do not have a project right now.”

Chirico said politicians can’t just put a grant application together with bits and pieces of a proposal from the referendum.

“We’ll find out about what the ‘Class C’ is, that’s definitely a ‘go/no-go,’” he said. “But even if you can get away with that, not knowing fully-fleshed out what your project is… what you have to describe in the grant is why this is going to meet the community need, why this is important to the community. And right now, I don’t know how I’m describing that. I don’t know that Jim [Crocket] does. I don’t know that you do.”

Commissioners directed staff to get clarity on what the funding bodies want for cost estimates, and started talking about passing up this application in favour of a possible second grant program — so far unannounced.

The commission should be “getting our homework done for the next intake,” said commssioner Andy Davidoff. “And not submitting a half-baked application, doing what we have to do with our i’s dotted and our t’s crossed, and submit a polished application that stands a chance with what is happening out there.”

The commissioners will meet on Wednesday, Dec. 19, to make a final decision on whether to apply for funding.

Despite their shrinking chances, Bergen Price said he was hoping the commission could find a way out of the quagmire.

“We have to rally the troops, we have to get back together and use the referendum information we have from the past and find a path forward,” he said after the meeting.

“We can’t just throw a half-hearted application at this, which could affect future funding. We want to make sure we do this right if we’re going to do this,” he said.

“And if we’re going to do this at the last minute and we’re not going to do this right, I don’t want to do this. Not as chair.”

Price said he’s especially worried about the future of the proposed new childcare facility at the complex. That project would be funded independent of the main project, but could affect upgrading plans.



reporter@rosslandnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Proposed upgrades at the Castlegar & District Community Complex would include a new entrance. (Photo: architect’s conception)

Proposed upgrades at the Castlegar & District Community Complex would include a new entrance. (Photo: architect’s conception)

Time is running out to apply for millions in grants that could cover the cost of upgrades to the Community Complex. (File photo)

Time is running out to apply for millions in grants that could cover the cost of upgrades to the Community Complex. (File photo)

Just Posted

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Interior Health reports 70 new cases overnight

The total number of cases in the region is now at 1,426

Teacher Casey Stowe and Principal Wendy Cutler from Twin Rivers Elementary with the donation. Photo: submitted
Castlegar school receives $2000 donation

Twin Rivers Elementary School will use the donation to enhance the school community.

Black bear feasting on mountain ash berries, a natural food source in the fall in the Castlegar area. Photo: submitted
Castlegar WildSafe received 144 reports of black bears this season

Submitted by WildSafeBC Castlegar A few bears continue to make a lasting… Continue reading

An employee of the Adventure Hotel was taken to hospital on Nov. 20 after she confronted a customer of Empire Coffee about not wearing a mask. File photo.
Nelson hotel employee suffers heart attack after being assaulted in anti-mask incident

An accountant at the Adventure Hotel is in hospital in Kelowna

RCMP pictured at a motor vehicle incident during snowy conditions. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Fruitvale woman charged with impaired driving in 2019 crash that killed 2 teens

A 15-year-old boy and 18-year-old woman, both from Fruitvale, died in the crash that sent the vehicle into the river

A man wearing a face mask to help curb the spread of COVID-19 walks in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. records deadliest day of pandemic with 13 deaths, 738 new COVID-19 cases

Number of people in hospital is nearing 300, while total cases near 30,000

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

This undated photo issued by the University of Oxford shows of vial of coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, in Oxford, England. (University of Oxford/John Cairns via AP)
Canada can make vaccines, just not the ones leading the COVID-19 race

Canada has spent more than $1 billion to pre-order seven different developing COVID-19 vaccines

British Columbia Premier John Horgan speaks during an announcement about a new regional cancer centre in Surrey, B.C., on Thursday, Aug. 6, 2020. Horgan is set to introduce his NDP government’s new cabinet Thursday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Horgan’s NDP cabinet built to tackle pandemic, economic recovery, says former premier

Seven former NDP cabinet ministers didn’t seek re-election, creating vacancies in several high-profile portfolios

The COVID-19 test centre at Peace Arch Hospital is located on the building’s south side. (Tracy Holmes photo)
B.C. woman calls for consistency in COVID-19 post-test messaging

‘Could we just get one thing straight?’ asks Surrey’s Deb Antifaev

(File photo)
Alberta woman charged after allegedly hitting boy with watermelon at Okanagan campsite

Police say a disagreement among friends at an Adams Lake campsite turned ugly

Court of Appeal for British Columbia in Vancouver. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
B.C. woman loses appeal to have second child by using late husband’s sperm

Assisted Human Reproduction Act prohibits the removal of human reproductive material from a donor without consent

Krista Macinnis displays the homework assignment that her Grade 6 daughter received on Tuesday. (Submitted photo)
B.C. mom angry that students asked to list positive stories about residential schools

Daughter’s Grade 6 class asked to write down 5 positive stories or facts

Most Read