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A rendering of the proposed community building at Wells Recreation Park in Rothesay. Image: Submitted/Town of Rothesay

Community Centre Price Tag Increases By $1.3M

By Brad Perry Oct 12, 2022 | 10:29 AM

Construction costs for a new community building at Wells Recreation Park in Rothesay have skyrocketed.

That has left one town councillor questioning whether the project should even be going ahead at this time.

On Tuesday night, council approved a staff recommendation to increase the project budget to $3.1 million.

Rothesay Mayor Nancy Grant said that is more than a million dollars higher than the most recent estimate of $1.8 million.

“Unfortunately, the costs have escalated, as they have for so many other projects,” Grant said during Tuesday’s meeting.

“Still, it is deemed a significant piece of infrastructure which has been in deficiency in the town and being significant for the community.”

The Wells Community Building will include event space, a residential kitchen, public park washrooms and a covered canopy for outdoor gatherings.

In his staff report, town manager John Jarvie noted that significant cost increases have been felt across the construction industry.

Despite a “comprehensive effort” to reduce costs, a budget increase is still required to continue, he wrote.

The federal government initially provided $500,000 for the project through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, while the province contributed a $486,000 grant through the Regional Development Corporation.

Jarvie said talks are underway to secure additional funding from provincial and federal partners, adding they have seen “some success” with preliminary discussions.

The project was scheduled to break ground in August with an expected completion date in early 2023.

The initial funding agreement required the project to be “substantially complete” by March 31, 2023. Jarvie said there is “some indication” from one of the funding agencies to possibly extend the timeline.

Councillor Don Shea was the only one to vote against approving the budget increase.

“I don’t believe we’ve been told the annual operating costs of that particular building to date. It has little to no input from Rothesay residents to its design other than residents who live in the immediate vicinity of the building,” he said.

Shea noted the initial cost of the project was around $1 million, and there is nothing to guarantee it will not go even higher.

He also said there are several other projects that have been on the back burner, including stormwater management and wastewater treatment.

“For these reasons and others that I’m sure I’ve probably mentioned before, this is not the right time to be building, and certainly not to invest $3 million,” said Shea.


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