The province and the city will be putting more skin in the game to make sure that a new childcare facility in West Quesnel becomes a reality.
Quesnel City Council received a grant for just over 2.6 million dollars back in the spring to provide 57 new childcare spaces in the community, but all of the bids for the project were more than a million dollars over budget.
Director of Community Services Jeff Norburn says staff then worked with the successful bidder, Jen-Col Construction, to reduce the cost of the project.
“The City engaged with them and the design team to identify opportunities to lower the project cost by reducing project complexity, and using less expensive materials where appropriate. Through that value engineering process, Jen-Col Construction was able to reduce their proposal price by $430,226 to a little less than 3.2 million dollars. A revised project budget was developed which projected a total cost of 3.475 million dollars, including soft costs and contingency, resulting in a funding gap of $856,557.
Norburn than delivered the good news at last (Tuesday) night’s Council meeting.
“Yesterday (Monday) we were advised by the province that they would provide an additional $801,095 towards the project, increasing the provincial contribution to 3.42 million dollars, which is based on their maximum formula of 65 thousand dollars per childcare space created.”
Council also voted unanimously to use just over 100 thousand dollars out of reserves (General Interest Capital Reserve) to fill in the remaining funding gap, and also to ensure that the project has a realistic contingency. (about 4.8 percent of the project)
Councillor Martin Runge noted that “at the end of the day we have to remember that this slush fund is actually going into a project that’s really, really good for our community. If we’re putting in a hundred grand for a 3 million dollar building, I think we have to sit back and say, even if we happen to in the unlikely event as people are alluding to go over by 50 grand, I still say it’s 50 grand well spent.”
Mayor Bob Simpson said that the city is committed to making sure that building is used for childcare for the next 15 years, but if it isn’t needed after that, then it has a building that somebody else paid for that can be put to another use if needed.
The facility will be built at 420 Webster Avenue.