The Town of Saugeen Shores Council has approved $28,115 in additional funding for building materials, to advance the pavilion project at Coulter Parkette in downtown Port Elgin.
Timmerman Timberworks that supplied the materials for the Rotary Pavilion at Fairy Lake will also provide them for the new pavilion at the Parkette at a cost of $33,895. Additional costs for roofing and construction would make the total cost of the pavilion at $42,000. The remaining budget available is $13,885 and, therefore, the additional funding was required.
The total upgrades requested by the BIA came in at $64,500 of which they will contribute $25,000 leaving a shortfall of $39,500. Staff were able to achieve a savings within the project of some $14,000 which then left the $28,115 deficit to be funded from the Parks Reserve.
Vice Deputy Mayor Diane Huber raised a concern that the depletions of the Parks Reserve are continuing.
“Last year,” she said, “we took $235,000 out of the Reserve fund that left approximately $100,000. We allocated in the budget $56,750 to come out of the Parks Reserve leaving $46,000 and now to take out $28,000, we are going to be left with less than $20,000 in the Reserve fund. That means in the space of about two years, we will have depleted two Parks Reserve funds down to less than $20,000.”
“Looking at the Coulter Parkett conversations, we have had going back to 2013,” she continued, “the BIA talked about a $40,000 project that they would basically fund with us in partnership and that didn’t happen. Then, in 2014, they talked about a project that was about $150,000 with $100,000 from the BIA, Spruce the Bruce and the Chamber and a $50,000 loan from the town that would be paid back over 10 years and that didn’t happen.”
She went on to say, “In 2017, we realized it was time we did something and budgeted $145,000, all from reserves. Then, in April last year, we got a request that was basically suggesting that the project was over budget and there were requests from the BIA for a water feature and pavilion covering at a cost of $55,000 and the BIA would come up with $5,000 a year for five years, up to $25,000 with construction cost savings by the town that would match it. Then, in July, we took $17,655 from Parks Reserve on top of the $145,000 and now we are being asked for even more. I understand the high school is involved and I really applaud the initiatives that include students but we thought we had a project and now we are getting another report where the dollar figures are going up. At some point, we have to say ‘wait a minute’. The Parks Reserve has been depleted in two years and we have no plan on how to replenish it. I also question that the idea behind the Parkette was to open up and the space and now it is being filled up and the space now is being encumbered by structural elements and that was not the initial intent.”
Councilor Neil Menage agreed that he was not in favour of the $28,000 although the BIA was to be commended for its work in the Port Elgin downtown. “It’s a combination effort however, of the staff, Council and BIA and perhaps we could defer this. If not, I will not support this.”
Deputy Mayor Luke Charbonneau pointed out that the Parkette is a 2017 project that has not been completed as yet. “The funding allocated was not enough and will leave a considerable hole in the Parkette if we don’t complete the project. I think Administration has done its best in trying to bring the number down and I don’t think we can do much better. The Fairy Lake project cost us almost $250,000 and I think we should go ahead with this similar project for Coulter Parkette.”
Councilor Mike Myatt added that the Parks Reserve was built over time for a special day to be able to purchase something special for the community and that was done with the purchase of the land for ball players in the community. “We are taking 150 acres that will be used for various things so that money was well spent. There will be significant savings with the students building the project and it’s time to get it done as the cost will only continue to go up.”
John Rich said that $42,000 may sound like a lot of money but agreed that the project needs to be completed.
“I am upset that the budget has been allowed to go over costs by that much,” added Councilor Don Matheson. “We usually keep an eye on that kind of thing and it is brought back to Council so, for to have ballooned to where it is, should have been brought to us. I agree with the Deputy Mayor and Councilor Menage on this. Is there somewhere else we can find funds or savings?
Town CAO, David Smith, pointed out that staff had put together a budget for the project and then the BIA came and asked for two items after the budget was done.
“The BIA has offered to contribute $25,000 and staff, through their efforts, have dropped the pricing from over $100,000 for those two elements to $64,500,” said Smith. “This request is not due to poor budgeting or management it’s about the request not being fully funded by the requestors. Council gave us direction to proceed and I just want to make it absolutely clear that it is not the case that staff has not managed this project well.”
The structure will resemble the Rotary Pavilion that is at Fairy Lake in Southampton and, like that pavilion, will be constructed by the students of the Saugeen District Secondary School (SDSS) Tech Class, under the guidance of teacher Bud Halpin.
“The Town has been working closely with the Port Elgin BIA to ensure their desired amenities were included in the overall project. Once again, we’re delighted to partner with Mr. Halpin and his talented group of construction students,” said Jayne Jagelewski, Director of Community Services.
The pavilion at Coulter Parkette will complement new landscaping, irrigation, new electrical work as well as a water feature.
The community space will be utilized by the BIA, but will also be available to book through the Town of Saugeen Shores.