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Supply chain woes up budget for waterpark to $2.5M

Awen Waterplay Area will include waterfalls, a splashpad, a washroom/change facility and parking

EDITOR'S NOTE: This story has been revised to correct the name of the bidder. apologizes for the error.

The cost has gone up again for the Awen Waterplay Area project.

During council’s regular meeting Monday night (May 30), council voted to increase the budget for the project to $2.5 million. Two weeks ago, costs had been estimated at $1.9 million. The original cost estimate for the project when it was proposed was $1.5 million.

“This facility is more than just a water-play facility,” Dean Collver, director of parks, recreation and culture, told councillors during Monday’s meeting. “While we normally would not be recommending this kind of a change, we do strongly believe that, with all we’ve done, we’re quite sure we won’t see a reduction in the price in the coming years.”

“We’re going to see tighter and tighter constraints on the supply chain and vendor access,” he added.

On May 17, Collver provided a brief update to councillors regarding the status of the park project, slated to be built in Harbourview Park adjacent to the Awen Gathering Place. At that time, he said the expected cost had increased from $1.5 million to $1.9 million.

During a more in-depth discussion at Monday’s meeting, Collver noted the tender request returned one bidder — Yard Weasels Inc. — which bid $2,574,835 for the work.

“The current conditions in terms of supply chain and vendor are putting us in a place where we believe it is the right decision to move forward, albeit accessing more of the development charge reserve than we had anticipated,” said Collver.

In discussions between the town and Envision Tatham, Collver noted the expected cost was reduced to $2.2 million. However, the town still wants to include a contingency, which upped the overall estimate to $2.5 million. The cost is expected to be covered through the development charge reserve.

The Awen Waterplay Area is planned for Harbourview Park, to surround the Awen Gathering Place. The site will include multiple water-play features including waterfalls, a splash pad, a washroom/change facility and parking. The water throughout the site will be recycled.

Ojibwa adviser, elder and knowledge keeper Dr. Duke Redbird was consulted on the design of the site.

As Harbourview Park is the site of a closed landfill, the property was cleaned when it was closed and materials that would be considered hazardous and/or create off-gasses like methane were removed. Inorganic materials such as hose, carpet and glass remain buried at the site and covered with topsoil.

The town had a D-4 study completed — a comprehensive review used for former landfills and adjacent lands to determine the impact of development on the land and identify potential hazards. The study conducted at Harbourview Park did not identify hazards, and cleared it for development.

The parking lot grading and stormwater management was completed in August 2021.

On Monday, Coun. Deb Doherty noted many projects have seen a need to increase budgets coming out of the pandemic.

“It’s good we have development charge funds to which we can turn ... Will this have any negative impact on the total (development charge) funds we have for parks and recreation projects?” she asked.

Treasurer Monica Quinlan said there is about $3 million in development charge funds flagged for outdoor recreation use.

“There isn’t any harm or worry from me that that particular reserve fund would be hurt by this additional cost,” she said.

At the end of the discussion, council voted unanimously in favour of receiving the report and approving the funding increase for the project to a maximum of $2.5 million, to be paid out of the development charge reserve. Coun. Chris Carrier was absent from the meeting.

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Jessica Owen

About the Author: Jessica Owen

Jessica Owen brings 12 years of experience to her role as regional reporter for Village Media, primarily covering Collingwood, County of Simcoe and education.
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