District of Port Hardy photo                                Tenders for the multiplex construction where higher than expected.

District of Port Hardy photo Tenders for the multiplex construction where higher than expected.

District of Port Hardy to ‘pause and reevaluate’ multiplex project

The district received expensive tender rates, which were 40 per cent higher than expected.

The District of Port Hardy has finished putting out tenders for a major recreation project, but estimated costs may mean a reevaluation from council.

According to a Dec. 19 information release penned by newly elected Mayor Dennis Dugas on behalf of council, the district has completed the tendering process for Port Hardy’s multiplex construction, but tenders were an extra 40 per cent higher than they had expected.

“We’re definitely going to have more detailed information available to the public early in the new year. We’re going to bring everyone up to speed,” mayor Dennis Dugas said via phone interview. The district plans to look for additioanl grant funding going forward, but won’t expect a decision to be made by the B.C. government until at least Fall 2019.

“We haven’t given up on the project,” he said, having expressed reassurance to the public.

“The District (of Port Hardy) has been working to make this project a reality since 2015,” the release stated. After a referendum on the decision to use Port Hardy tax dollars, the district was given go-ahead by residents to have “secured funding through the Strategic Priorities Fund in the amount of $6,000,000.”

The Regional District of Mount Waddington has also dedicated an annual $50,000 contribution to debt toward the multiplex while Marine Harvest has already contributed a cash amount of $250,000. Despite the funding, the district noted that the “tenders for this project were more than 40 (per cent) higher than anticipated.”

Council will now have to reconvene to take a “pause and reevaluate the project,” the release continued. “Council remains committed to this project and will continue to pursue ways to improve recreation for the North Island.”

The release stated that the district will now look toward other funding for the recreation project. “This project remains viable to the District of Port Hardy,” the release noted.

As for what happens now, the district will seek further input from the Port Hardy public on details and possible next steps. A public consultation meeting is set sometime next year.

The project has an estimated budget of $12,600,000, which will include a new aquatic centre with a three-lane pool, lazy river, children’s play area, leisure pool, hot tub, sauna, and mezzanine.

The district is expected to tap into funds available in the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program. The government grant totals $3.917 billion for use toward B.C. infrastructure over the next 10 years.

More to come.