Council may approve additional millions for McMeeken replacement

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McMeeken Centre

On January 11, 2021 council members voted in favour of sending out a tender for replacing the McMeeken Arena.

During that meeting, the decision was made with an approved, long-term debt budget of $28.8 million dollars.

Ellis-Don has been selected as the contractor for construction of the proposed replacement facility, however, there is one final hurdle, more money is required.

Tonight, two options will come back before council, according to the report.

  • Option 1 (the recommended option) includes a future walking track. The tendered price would be $27,990,000, with a total project budget of $31,409,650.  An additional $2.61 million would need to be approved for this option to be executed.
  • Option 2 includes a walking track and bowl windows. The tendered price would be
    $29,319,000, with a total project budget of $32,809,500. An additional $4.0 million would be needed to enable the second option.

City Staff have provided options as to how this extra cost can be covered.

“This additional amount could be accommodated from the Canada Community Building Fund (previously Federal Gas Tax) 2021 top up of $4,473,787, as announced on March
25, 2021, as part of Bill C-25.  Approval of Bill C-25 has not yet been received so if
this funding is not provided, alternatives such as increased long-term debt or re-allocating future capital budget resources would be required,” said the report on the agenda.

Back in December, during budget season, the Mayor publicly stated that if the price came back to council higher than the original $28.8 million, he may vote against the project.

“So while I will support it today, and while I will encourage it moving forward, I will not support it if the tender comes back to any degree that I consider significantly higher than the announcement authorized today,” said Provenzano in December.  “I don’t want anybody on council to be surprised about that position when I take it, if I take it in the future.  And I don’t want the community to be surprised by that position.”

Other councillors were also concerned about the costs being any higher. Although passed in a 7-3 vote in December to go to tender, the extra money may cause some to hesitate going forward.

Stay with SaultOnline as we bring you the final decision on the replacement of the McMeekan arena.

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