Brian Mulroney was the prime minister of Canada when first Bowen Islanders met to discuss the possibility of building a community centre on the island.
Five prime ministers later, the meeting-phase has finally morphed into the doing-phase.
On Thursday morning, the municipality officially announced it had chosen Golden Globe Construction as the winner of its construction tender process.
Construction is slated to begin with site preparation in January 2022.
“I can feel the excitement of this project coming to life,” CAO Liam Edwards told the Undercurrent in advance of the public announcement. “This was the go/no-go decision. If council had said no, it would have meant a significant delay and, in this environment, the cost escalation would have been dramatic.
“We’ve seen 10 to 25 per cent cost escalations in just over a three-month period. The best way to reduce that risk is to lock in secure prices now. Delaying and waiting would likely result in paying more for less.”
When council first green-lighted the project in 2018, the construction budget was $10.5 million. By 2020, the projected costs had risen to $12 million. When the project was put out to tender this past summer, all three bids exceeded the 2018 budget.
Golden Globe Construction’s winning bid was $14.4 million, the lowest received. The budget for the entire project is now $18.7 million.
The BIM-induced reasons for the higher costs are:
• time escalation; and
• improved energy performance, increased accessibility, improved ventilation and sufficient capacity to meet existing municipal staffing requirements.
The pandemic-induced reasons are:
• greater demand for construction raw materials, commodities and labour as people used the lockdown to expand/renovate their homes or businesses; and
• decreased production and supply chain disruptions .
An island as small as Bowen also faces increased transportation, acquisition and labour costs.
The municipality worked with Golden Globe to find $500,000 in savings.
The municipality hopes it will be eligible for more federal funding through the Canada Cultural Spaces grant. This would be on top of the existing $7.9 million Investing in Canada Infrastructure grant.
BIM can also transfer $1.2 million of its Covid-19 Safe Restart Fund for Local Governments fund to the project.
On top of the $1.3 million already pledged in donations, the fundraising campaign will be re-launched in December in anticipation of reaching an additional fundraising target of $1.5 million.
Further updates will soon be available on the project’s website: OurIslandPlace.com.