DISTRICT OF PORT HARDY PHOTO The multiplex building as envisioned by architects hired by the District of Port Hardy.

Port Hardy Mayor Dennis Dugas says district is not backing out of multiplex project

The district will be holding a multiplex open house session Jan.29 at 6:30 p.m. at the Civic Centre.

Interested in finding out what’s going on with Port Hardy’s multiplex project?

The District of Port Hardy will be holding an open house session on Jan.29 at 6:30 p.m. at the Civic Centre where you can be brought up to speed on the project via a powerpoint presentation and ask questions after.

Port Hardy Mayor Dennis Dugas recently sat down with the North Island Gazette for an interview about the open house, noting the district’s powerpoint presentation will “bring everybody up to speed, and it will go back to 2016 when we first started getting it all put together before the referendum.”

The District went to the public to seek input on the direction council should consider and the survey results returned 74 per cent in favour of building a new aquatic facility. A referendum (Assent Voting Opportunity) was held Oct. 22, 2016. The electors of Port Hardy approved the project, and the District started looking to pursue grant funding for 2/3 of the $12,000,000 project.

After receiving $6,000,000 from the Gas Tax Fund, $50,000 from the Regional District of Mount Waddington, and a $250,000 donation from Marine Harvest, the district was ready to put the project out for tender.

However, due to the bids coming back 40 per cent higher than expected, the district then decided to pause and reevaluate the project.

When asked if he was surprised by how high the bids came in, Dugas stated the district was “actually very disappointed by the way it came out, but there’s a lot of things to take into consideration – our dollar is really low and that has a big impact on it, plus there’s some extra taxes that have been put on with regards to products coming out of the states.”

Dugas gave rebar as an example, stating the cost for it has gone up 30 per cent.

Chief Administrative Officer Allison McCarrick confirmed no local North Island businesses bid on the project, which Dugas thinks is because “it’s a project that is pretty large, there’s a lot of different aspects that local people don’t have the manpower to be able to take on a project that large, and it’s a specialized project (swimming pool).”

As for what the project may look like now that the bids came in 40 per cent higher than anticipated, Dugas stated that as of right now, “we are going to end up with a new aquatic centre with some amenities, but certainly not to the extent we were hoping. When we first started talking about it, we were talking about a multiplex that would encompass a lot of things. We talked about having things for seniors, we talked about finishing off the skateboard park and developing something with regards to that, but once we started putting it all together with the monies we had available and the monies we could borrow through the referendum, we had to start cutting a lot of things out of the project to make it happen … It’s all going to be dependent on what comes back from the grant applications — if you’re going to borrow six million dollars, that’s a lot of money, we have to pay that debt off, so if we can get more stakeholders involved in the process it will be a lot better for the taxpayers of Port Hardy.”

Above all else, Dugas wants residents to come out to the open house and “be a part of what’s happening in our community so we can get them up to date to where we are at, and hopefully give them some insurance that we are certainly not backing out of the project.”

Just Posted

Forest fire 1.5 km from Sara Lake listed as out of control

While the fire is classified as out of control, they expect it to be under control imminently.

62.5 pounder caught off north of Port Hardy

“It was a team effort to land this 62.5 lb fish”

20th annual OrcaFest takes over Port McNeill

Check out the North Island Gazette’s OrcaFest photo gallery!

Oh Yeah takes a bite out of Woodchuckers at OrcaFest slo-pitch tournament in Port McNeill

Oh Yeah defeated the Woodchuckers 21-10 after seven innings.

Gate House Theatre reopens, kicks off OrcaFest in style

It was an evening of laughter and good times and the perfect launch to the festival weekend.

VIDEO: Could we BE any more excited? ‘Friends’ fans go crazy for merch

Movie theatres will show select episodes to mark the NBC series’ 25th anniversary

Bodies of two missing Surrey men found near Ashcroft

Ryan Provencher and Richard Scurr have been missing since July 17

Pile of wood mulch ‘spontaneously combusts’ at Vancouver Island industrial site

Business owner thanks fire department for quick response

Five hedgehogs quickly adopted after being left at BC SPCA

Lucky new owners picked up their pets from Maple Ridge branch on Aug. 20

B.C. cricket players get interrupted by racist remark

Community has had protocols in place for years to respond to prejudice

Groovy B.C. wedding a throwback to Woodstock ‘69

Couple hosts themed wedding 50 years after legendary festival

Nearly 50% of Canadians experience ‘post-vacation blues’: poll

48 per cent of travellers are already stressed about ‘normal life’ while still on their trip

Vancouver Island senior found safe with help from six search and rescue teams

Wayne Strilesky found safe in thick brush in north Nanaimo

Most Read