While the construction contract for the Huxley Community Park skatepark has not been approved yet, it could be as early as May 25. Regional District of Nanaimo staff have prepared a report with a recommendation for whom to award a contract to, which will be presented to the board of directors at their May 25 meeting, RDN staff told the Sounder.
In a verbal report at the May 13 Gabriola Local Trust Committee meeting, Vanessa Craig, director for RDN Electoral Area B (Gabriola, Mudge, DeCourcy), said construction costs for the project, which includes building a 718.5 m2 (7,733 square feet) skate park and improving parking, are higher than anticipated.
“With the recent COVID-related construction and real estate boom, costs have escalated more than anticipated,” Craig told the Sounder. Grant funding requests were made back in 2019, she said.
Going into the construction bid process, the Huxley skatepark project had $773,700 in total funding: $309,480 from the federal government and $257,874 from the provincial government through the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Plan, Community Culture and Recreation Infrastructure Stream; $206,346 in RDN reserves and taxes and $68,000 in community donations from the Keep on Pushin’ campaign.
Only one bid was received for the construction project, RDN staff confirmed, from Comox-based Radius Contracting Inc., with a tender price of $732,500. Among its past jobs, the contracting firm built a 5,500-square-foot skatepark in Cumberland in 2017.
Craig said any potential further project financing needs are yet to be determined. “If the site prep doesn’t hit unexpected bumps – like rock removal required – we may have extra funding within the budget to do some of the extras” outside the core project elements, the skatepark and the parking lot, giving the examples of landscaping and a shade structure.
“We’ll see how the project unfolds.”
The bid contract was for construction of the skate park as well as supply and installation of all associated items including chain-link fence, retaining walls, gravel pathways, tree protection fence, bioswale, gravel build-up in the parking lot, a concrete pad viewing area, skateboard benches and concrete wheel stops.
A tender addendum notes an anticipated construction start date of June 21 and finish date of Oct. 19. However, the tender requires all clearing, grubbing and tree removals, of which the arborist report attached to the tender recommends there be 104, to occur outside of the March-August bird nesting window. A second tender addendum says it is acceptable to start work in mid-August and complete by Dec. 31.
Rachelle Stein-Wotten, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Gabriola Sounder