Orangeville’s Alder pool replacement cost rise by additional $3 million

June 22, 2023   ·   0 Comments


Over $3 million is needed to complete work at the Alder Street arena swimming pool in Orangeville.

So far, $6,253,890 has been committed to the project.

“We’ve had some challenges there and staff are returning to council requesting further funding,” Heather Savage, the town’s general manager of community services, told the council on June 19.

Austin Carrol Pool Construction Ltd. was hired in April 2021 to replace the lap pool’s liner, which was expected to be completed by December 2021. Multiple issues and deficiencies were discovered, prolonging the Alder renovation.

Remediation work of the soil, water damage, and concrete work has imposed necessary change orders in the amount of $3,028,000, bringing the total to $9,281,890. This is more than double the initial cost estimate for the project in July 2021 of roughly $4.3 million. 

The requested $3,028,000 to complete the project remains unfunded.

Savage said the pool will be one of the town’s most prized possessions when the work is completed.

“This pool is already making tracks across the country,” she said. “We’ve had a lot of visitors. It will be something very exciting that Orangeville can be proud of.”

Staff recommend that an invasive structural analysis be conducted on the entire recreation centre.

There are concerns structural deficiencies found in the pool area could be found elsewhere in the building. One contractor and their sub-contractors constructed the building.

The cost of an invasive structural analysis is $70,000, to be accompanied by an allowance in case major issues are identified and the engineer must investigate further. A total of $300,000 should be reserved for the structural analysis process.

Whatever funding is not used will remain in the general capital reserve.

Councillor Andy Macintosh said he’d love to vote against approving the extra $3 million for the pool work.

“It’s terrible,” he said of the price tag. “I’m not blaming any staff. I know we’ve had issues with the construction of the building and various other issues that we won’t get into here.”

He said the town has already put $6 million into the facility, and $3 million more is “ridiculous,” but it needs to be done.

“That’s an expensive pile of dirt if we don’t do something with it,” Macintosh said.

Deputy Mayor Todd Taylor said the whole arena cost more than $20 million when it was built. Work on the pool is almost half of the cost of constructing the entire facility.

“We’re not making silly decisions,” Taylor said. “We’re doing what we need to do to have an asset continue on and move forward.”

It’s really upsetting, he said, but it’s necessary to move forward. Taylor noted the staff has done a great job under exceptional circumstances.

“This is one of the worst things I’ve been involved in on council,” he said.

Coun. Debbie Sherwood said there’s an obligation to residents to give them a facility that’s useful, top-notch, and safe.

“Unfortunately, things happen when construction starts,” she said.

Coun. Joe Andrews said the pool, when complete, will benefit residents for many decades.

“It is a very difficult pill to swallow, but it’s one that we must to move forward,” Andrews said.

Major renovations at the Mill Street branch of the Orangeville Public Library are expected to be complete by September.

The work includes increased accessibility features such as a new entrance and the installation of an elevator, new flooring, and an enhanced customer service area. Staff anticipate the project to be spot-on with its $1,335,000 budget.

The Rotary Park redevelopment project has been broken down into six phases.

The first two phases have secured funding and will proceed as soon as possible. The Rotary Club of Orangeville has committed $250,000 to construct a play structure. The last three phases are considered provisional at this time as there is no approved funding source.

Staff have issued a request for proposals to hire an architect to design and estimate costs for all six phases.

Coun. Tess Prendergast lauded the library and Rotary Park projects. And, as with her colleagues, she lamented the cost overruns on the pool project.

She said the town is basically stuck between a rock and a hard place.

“We need to pay what we need to pay to have that project completed,” she said. “We need to pony up the dough.”

Coun. Rick Stevens asked if the $1 million earmarked for Rotary Park, which isn’t to start right away, can be used towards the pool.

Savage said that $1 million would be used for the design phases. The architects and engineers for the project will lay out what the park will look like.

“We have $1 million and we’ll figure out which phases can we achieve within that $1 million and which needs to be delayed to further years or to a further budget cycle,” Savage said.

Mayor Lisa Post acknowledged there’s been much frustration among residents about the amount of time and work the pool has taken.

She said the contractor didn’t anticipate that such problems would plague the pool project.

“We are looking at all options and moving forward,” Post said.

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