Sidney’s proposed new community safety building. It’s currently under construction near the Pat Bay Highway and Mary Winspear Centre. (Town of Sidney)

UPDATED: Sidney’s safety building now costs $14.8 million

Town says BC Ambulance Service to pay around 16.5 per cent of entire building project

Sidney’s new community safety building has now reached $14.8 million, thanks to the latest bids on the ongoing construction of the joint fire hall and ambulance station.

The latest quote on the project’s overall cost — up around $300,000 from the last tender process — comes after the Town received two bids: one for the mechanical contract for the structure and the other for the doors. On Monday, Town Council approved the bids — again lamenting the fact that there was only one company to bid on both contracts.

Doors, frames and hardware will be done by McGreggor Thompson at a cost of $289,000 — of which $165,000 is being set aside to pay for a secure access system, as requested by the Ambulance Service.

“One tender would have come in under budget,” said Councillor Peter Wainwright, “except BC Ambulance added the security access controls and increased the cost.”

He said the Town pays for the entire project up front, but the BC Ambulance Service will cover some of that cost later.

In an email to the PNR, Sidney’s Director of Corporate Services Andrew Hicik said the BC Ambulance Service’s (BCAS) request for a door security assess system is only a small part of the Service’s incremental cost of the community safety building. He added that will only occur if the Town decides to go with such a system. Hicik did say that money has been set aside for now, but the Town could find a less expensive option. Hicik said if the BCAS wants something more, they would pay for that.

The mechanical work will be done by Erb Technical Contracting Ltd., at a cost of $1.55 million — and that’s more than $550,000 over the Town’s budget.

“It’s a hard day when you award a contract when you only receive one bid,” said Coun. Mervyn Lougher-Goodey. “But we’re all aware of what’s going on out there, especially in mechanical systems. We are really stuck, we have to do this.”

Taken with other tender packages, some cost savings in supplier bids and a re-evaluation of the building needs, that pushes the overall project cost to $14.8 million. According to Town staff, thanks to the BCAS estimated share in the door tender, the impact on Sidney’s projected borrowing will be only $50,000 — taking their total borrowing to $7.55 million.

That’s still within the threshold of borrowing approved by the Town before construction began.

Hicik noted that the latest increase in BCAS’ contribution was based on “all the contracts awarded to date, not specifically these latest ones.”

“The fact that BC Ambulance is expected to cover most of the additional $300,000 that was added to the budget, was not based directly on this set of tender awards,” Hicik noted in an email. “Every time I project a new budget and new estimates for the project funding, I take all the latest information into account. Based on this, I came up with the most recent projection of what BCAS will be paying for the total project.”

He said BCAS’ portion of the entire building in approximatley 16.5 per cent.

Wainwright said while the Town’s costs remain within the borrowing authorization council already approved, “it’s not good news we keep getting these tenders in over budget, but we’re getting close to the end of the project now.”

Staff told council this week there s another tender yet to come — for the building’s interiors.

The original estimate was that the new community safety building would cost $10 million, but that was changed dramatically back in October as bids began to roll in.

Sidney plans on covering the cost of the new building through borrowing, contributions from the BC Ambulance Service, Gas Tax money and the sale of their existing fire hall and nearby parking lot.



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