The North Cariboo Joint Planning Committee approved the West Fraser Arena project last night with a unanimous decision which will see them enter into a construction contract with Vic Van Isle Construction (VVI) for $17. 9 million for the arena project.
Council chambers was packed as people, including a number of minor hockey players, came to hear the announcement. They also approved the total cost of the project which is set at $20.6 million and includes soft costs, civil works, the contract with VVI and contingency funding.
The total cost of the project is based on the value engineering process which consisted primarily of changes in material specifications and suppliers that is not expected to have a negative impact on the function of the arena or the community’s expectations.
Some changes were going with two compressors for the ice plant instead of three and one scoreboard instead of two.
Mark Hentze of CEI Architecture says it was important to them they capture the spirit of the community.
“When we started with you folks here I think what was really important to the community was it wasn’t just a hockey rink,” Hentze said.
“This would be a centre for the community to gather and take in all kinds of activities. We certainly wanted to capture the sense of how important the lumber and timber industry is to this community.”
The board was also quite happy with the work that MKT Development Group did which allowed them to make a sound decision on the project.
“I think you had an incredibly hard job to do and I think we’re going to end up with a fine facility that the whole community can be proud of,” Coun. John Briscoe said.
The board was also glad to see the price come down from the original projected cost.
“Seeing what we have now, I really believe that we are getting good value for our money,” Coun. Ron Paull said.
“I think what we had before was a little bit over the top.”
Mayor, Bob Simpson says the next step in the process will be the fundraising effort.
“We’ve only booked, I believe, a million dollars of a potential $1.5 million in fundraising,” Simpson said.
“Our biggest contingency is the $500,000 in potential fundraising with matching dollars from West Fraser. If we want to make sure this is well under price and net positive that’s where we have the opportunity and in one of our next meetings we will talk about ramping up the fundraising. All of the folks in here are looking forward to a new arena.
“We’re going to be looking forward to engaging you in that fundraising effort because that’s where our true buffer is in not having invoked the full amount.”
Construction for the arena is set to begin in April and they have the intention of seeing steel up by the fall of 2016 with a completed schedule at the end of July 2017.
The project still needs get the approval of the Cariboo Regional District for a final decision but Simpson is confident there should not be any problems moving forward.