Revelstoke city council has opted to move forward with a grant application for upgrades to the Revelstoke Forum, despite an increase in costs.
On Jan. 8, council approved a staff request to apply for a federal/provincial infrastructure grant for a $10 million roof replacement and upgrade project. The city hoped to get 90% funding for the project with city taxpayers contributing the remaining 10%, or $1 million.
However, on Jan. 21 city staff published a new report showing costs had escalated to an estimated $13.9 million, meaning the loan bylaw would have to be bumped up to $1.39 million.
Coun. Cody Younker said it was “alarming” to see the nearly 40 per cent cost increase.
Coun. Nicole Cherlet and Mike Brooks-Hill asked if arena user groups could get involved with fundraising. Brooks-Hill mentioned the new skatepark and planned splash park as examples of community fundraising efforts.
In response to council questions about the increase in costs, Laurie Donato, director of the Parks, Recreation and Culture department, said that the costs came after consultation with engineering and architecture companies. “The updated cost estimate reflects today’s current value for the project,” she said.
City chief executive officer Allan Chabot said the cost increase came about after staff investigation of actual costs, and that council had not been “led down the decision path” into a “corral.”
Mayor Gary Sulz said the community will have a chance to weigh in on the project once the results from the grant application are known.
After some questioning, council unanimously approved the plan to move forward with a $1.39 million borrowing bylaw. The city has to demonstrate it has its funding in place in order to apply for the grant. The plan staff report estimated paying back the loan over 25 years will mean a 0.7% increase in taxes. City finance director Tania McCabe said the tax increase would start if and when the project moves forward.