Yorkton Council took a public look at the most recent consultant’s report on a Gallagher Centre Renewal Project at its regular meeting Monday.
It was back in September 2018 Council directed Administration to engage aodbt Architecture and Interior Design to review options for replacement of the Kinsmen Arena, explained Darcy McLeod, Director Community Development, Parks and Recreationwith the City.
At their October 21, 2019 Council Meeting, Council further directed Administration to:
*Continue working with aodbt on a design to replace the Kinsmen Arena at the Gallagher Centre, including continuing to work with the user group participants.
*Further, to proceed with completion of schematic design.
*Engage the services of a contractor to provide pre-construction services to act as an advisor to Administration to ensure constructability and completeness of a design that will result in minimal change orders in the event the project is approved.
To inform their work, Administration, with the help of aodbt, conducted a community engagement process to obtain feedback from the public on the design of the replacement arena, including:
*Input sessions were conducted with regular users of the Kinsmen Arena.
*Virtual input sessions with users to continue with the design process through the pandemic.
*Presentations with Council.
A Virtual Open House of the proposed design was placed on YouTube and a digital feedback process was available for one month after the videos were posted.
The project has been developed with community input, said McLeod.
“A community engagement process is an excellent way to determine community need and receive feedback on the design, however the drawback is that the scope of the design may creep beyond the intended outcome. The direction from Council was “if we are going to do anything we are going to do it right.” This was also echoed in the community engagement process,” he said.
McLeod added in replacing the Kinsmen Arena an opportunity to provide improvements to the Gallagher Centre came about.
The following outlines additional areas of improvement included in the design as a result of the community engagement process and to take advantage of construction at the Gallagher Centre, in an effort to “do it right”.
*Renovate existing arena dressing rooms, including the Terriers and Maulers rooms.
*Provide enhanced spaces for Yorkton Minor Hockey and Skate Yorkton
*Upsized ice plant to accommodate three ice sheets.
*Addition of a leisure ice area.
*Increased code-related upgrades.
*Building systems in replacement arena that include air conditioning and de-humidification to provide for comfortable use through the shoulder and off-season, including the summer months.
*Building maintenance area.
The expanded project has an estimated cost of $22.1 million, $13.7 or that the Kinsmen Arena ice replacement, explained Darren Mountenay with PCL Construction.
The question of course is whether the expanded scope is appropriate.
“As has been mentioned, the original scope of the project has expanded from the replacement of the Kinsmen Arena to include a renewal of the Gallagher Centre. Does the scope of the design presented meet Council’s expectations of what should be built, regardless of the timing of the actual construction? If so, then consideration should be given to the next steps of design. If not, then consideration should be given to re-define the scope of the work required,” said McLeod.
If Council wants to re-define the scope of the project to a stand-alone ice sheet, the design process will need to start over at the schematic design phase, said McLeod.
“This would require an allocation of funds, dependent on the new scope of work, to engage a consultant team to conduct this work, similar to what has just been completed,” he added.
The design work is now at a point whereby Council needs to give more direction before more work is carried out, said McLeod.
“If Council is of the opinion that this project will likely unfold within the next five years, it would be prudent to plan for this and allocate funds (ie: existing loan payments), to a reserve for this purpose,” he said.
“If Council is of the opinion that this project will be deferred, then a decision regarding the $100 residential base tax charge would need to be made during the 2021 budget deliberations. This could include allocating these funds to a future recreation facility or another project OR, deleting the levy from the taxes.
“If Council is of the opinion that the current scope of the project is what we should build, and further, that this project should be shovel ready, in the event that the city secures future federal/provincial infrastructure funding, then it may be prudent to complete the detailed design in preparation of tendering and construction at a later date.”
Councilor Mitch Hippsley was quick to state, “This is a wonderful plan,” but then said he wanted to ensure taxpayers “it does not mean we are proceeding ... it’s just where we are. It’s just a concept.”
Coun. Darcy Zaharia said before another step is taken he wants a more detailed look at costs, where the City would find the dollars, and how it would meet payments on borrowed money for a project.
Zaharia added later, “I definitely think the scope of it has to be revisited.”
Coun. Quinn Haider questioned how long the current Kinsmen Arena has left.
Mitch Strocen with aodbt Architecture and Interior Design replied while it “is not going to fall down” it is at the point where parts for maintenance are a concern, and like an older car breakdowns can happen any time.
Coun. Ken Chyz questioned “how real” a suggestion of a 33 per cent contribution from the federal or provincial governments toward the project was.
City Director of Finance Ashley Stradeski, said while it is not guaranteed it is a probability at some point, but the when is an unknown.
Mayor Bob Maloney suggested ultimately it was too late in the current mandate of Council “to make this kind of decision.”
In the end it was a unanimous decision “that Council refer the Gallagher Centre Renewal Project discussions to a future strategic planning session of Council to revisit, and clarify, the scope of the scope of the project and, further direct Administration to allocate funding in the 2021 capital budget to engage a consultant to assist with re-defining the scope, and further that these recommendations be brought forward to an open Council meeting in 2021 in conjunction with high level budget estimates.”