Construction costs on the Sam Ketcham Pool project have gone up however it won’t be affecting taxpayers.
In a joint press release, the Cariboo Regional District and City of Williams Lake said the new estimate anticipates a project cost of $13.1 million including appropriate contingency funding, which is approximately 12 percent over the initial cost estimate of $11.7 million.
With the Federal Gas Tax grant factored into the budget, they say the new price tag for the project can be achieved without a previously planned draw from the recreation function capital reserves and the anticipated borrowing will be reduced to $6.75 million with a term of 15 years.
The reduction in the principle amount borrowed saves $6.45 million, including $3.2 million in interest charges. Taxation increases over the term of the five-year financial plan have been reduced from one percent per year to zero percent.
“It is disappointing, but not fully unexpected, that the cost estimates have gone up since the initial concept plan in 2012,” stated Central Cariboo Joint Committee Co-chair Mayor Walt Cobb. “But it’s also critical that the project meets all the expectations of the community and the scope that was brought forward in the referendum and I’m glad this will be achieved while actually reducing costs for local taxpayers.
To support the project, the Regional District and the City of Williams Lake continue to pursue funding from other sources and have confirmed $250,000 from Northern Development Initiative Trust, $500,000 from the Canada 150 Federal Grant program, $427,500 in Regional District Community Works Funds for specific energy efficiency upgrades and $4 million from the Federal Gas Tax Strategic Priorities Fund.
These grants are in addition to the $500,000 donated by West Fraser to support the project in recognition of the long-standing connection between the facility, the company, and the Ketcham family. This major grant funding will help reduce the amount of funding the Regional District must borrow for the project and save local taxpayers those financing costs.
“We are thankful to the funding partners for their contributions and support and the major positive impact their funds have on the project budget and that we will be able to significantly reduce the cost to local taxpayers. I’m also confident that the project working group will continue to be diligent in ensuring that all design details are the best value for the project and will take advantage of any other cost-saving opportunities,” says Central Cariboo Co-Chair and CRD Director Joan Sorley.