Greg Dobrowolski, special projects manager for the City of Dawson Creek, said a significant contingency fund was built into the project because the bid received for construction came in below what was anticipated, but that fund is “getting real tight” because of complications in hazmat removal. He said most of the hazardous material – mainly asbestos – was identified before construction began, but some of it was not, and each time new materials are found, work has to be halted until those materials can be removed safely.
“Asbestos was used in darn near everything, we are finding it everywhere, and that slows things down and costs more money,” he said.
He said the removal of lead paint is another issue they thought they had identified and accounted for in the bid price, but WorkSafe BC has since required crews to change work plans and exposure controls.
“We’ve had to incorporate a plan to encapsulate it all, because it is going to be a public assembly building, so what we are not removing in construction we will have to encapsulate so it can’t get into the air or onto fingers.”
Dobrowolski will be providing a formal update on the project to city council on Monday, and he said he will be recommending to council that the advisory committee meet with the architects and the project manager to identify areas where costs could be cut within the existing scope of the project.
“It may well be that what we will hand over to the Kiwanis Performing Arts Centre (KPAC) won’t be completely finished, and they will have to budget for things like putting room numbers on next year or the year after.”
He said he and Gerald Longson, who was hired by the City to manage the project, agree that with some cuts to the scope of the project they can complete the arts centre within the existing budget, but he is not ruling out the possibility if costs continue to add up that he may have to seek authorization from council for more funding to complete construction.
“When you are doing renovations, there are always surprises, and you can’t predict the ones you are going to find, and that has proven to be the case in this.”
Dobrowolski added the delays have pushed back the anticipated opening date to April from a previous date of late December or early January. He said the stakeholders at KPAC have been advised they should anticipate a summer move from the existing arts centre.
The total cost to complete the Calvin Kruk Centre for the Arts has been estimated around $12.5 million. Earlier this year, city council received voter approval to borrow up to $4 million to complete the project. Another $6.4 million has been provided through a federal-provincial infrastructure grant, nearly $700,000 has been raised through corporate donations, and KPAC has committed to providing hundreds of thousands more dollars to complete the project.