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Prince George, B.C.’s downtown pool project sinks initial budget

Photo courtesy City of Prince George
Prince George, B.C., council will add $2.87 million to the construction budget of the city’s new downtown pool complex, bringing the total cost to $39,126,000—well over the $35 million budget.

Prince George, B.C., council will add $2.87 million to the construction budget of the city’s new downtown pool complex, bringing the total cost to $39,126,000—well over the $35 million budget.

According to a CBC report, director of civic operations Blake McIntosh said rising inflation, including labour and materials costs, added $1.1 million in spending since the project was approved in 2017.

However, the largest increase was caused by a clerical error when substandard steel was ordered and delivered.

“Roughly two-thirds ($1.7 million) of these costs are attributed either directly or indirectly to the steel primer deficiency. As reported to council last July (when the estimated cost was $1 million), following the delivery of structural components to the worksite, it was determined that the primer was specified in error and would require significant remediation work,” wrote McIntosh, in a report to council.

The city is seeking to recover the cost, including through possible legal action. Prince George will fund the overruns through more debt.

In 2017, Prince George residents voted 62.5 per cent in favour of borrowing up to $35 million for the pool complex. The city has now borrowed more than $28 million to complete the project.  The federal and provincial governments have contributed $10 million in grants.

Coun. Brian Skakun argued any debt will still be paid with tax dollars, and noted rising construction budgets have plagued the current and previous city councils.

“Part of what’s going on in the community is that there have been several cost overruns, and even though we can say this one’s only $2.8 million or $3 million over budget, I think you take that in an accumulated effect,” Skakun told CBC.

Construction of the new downtown pool is now 84 per cent complete and is expected to open to the public in September.

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