North Cowichan will contribute another $332,500 towards the construction of the new field house at the Cowichan Sportsplex, council decided on April 7.
The municipality had already committed $95,000 towards the project in 2019, when the total cost estimate for its construction was $1.25 million.
But a cost analysis last year of what was planned set the price tag of the facility’s construction at $2.2 million, so the project’s architects significantly modified the building to reduce costs.
The Canada Recreation Infrastructure Fund granted approximately $1 million towards the project, while local governments and other agencies committed to funding the rest.
The original concept plans for the facility, developed in 2018, called for a two-storey building that included team dressing rooms, public washrooms, meeting space, office space and associated mechanical rooms.
The updated building plan would see a single-floor structure in which the administration space is eliminated, meeting space size reduced, and the layout reconfigured.
The construction of the new building is now estimated at $1.58 million, which is still $330,000 above the original construction budget.
Don Stewart, North Cowichan’s director of parks and recreation, successfully recommended at the meeting on April 7 that council transfer all the municipality’s unallocated funds that were set aside for the recently completed $2.8-million renovation project at the Cowichan Aquatic Centre, which total $325,000, towards the field house project.
Stewart also suggested that the City of Duncan be requested to transfer the $47,500 in its unallocated funds that were intended for the renovations at the CAC towards the field house project that would act as a contingency fund to cover any other cost escalations.
“If the field house project comes under budget, the remaining funds would be returned to the two local governments,” he said.
The Cowichan Sportsplex is a popular regional outdoor sports, fitness and recreation park covering more than 26 acres in the Valley.
It is situated on land owned by North Cowichan, but the Sportsplex is widely used by many in the Valley, and beyond.
It’s anticipated that the new field house will lead to the expansion of existing programs at the Sportsplex, and inaugurate new ones.
Coun. Rosalie Sawrie asked Stewart what would happen if the City of Duncan said no to the request to contribute $47,500 as a contingency fund for the field house.
In 2019, the City of Duncan refused the request from the Cowichan Sportsplex to contribute $25,000 towards the project, but gave the same request the green light last year.
Stewart said he has reached out to the city’s CAO Peter de Verteuil on the issue, but has yet to receive a response.
He said even if Duncan says no, the project would still have the money to proceed, but not a contingency fund.
“I would hope the City of Duncan will see this partnership the way we see it and provide the funding as requested as we’re putting in significantly more,” added North Cowichan’s CAO Ted Swabey.