Little River Park in Thornbury is getting a brand new washroom facility, but it’s going to be more than twice as expensive as expected.
The Blue Mountains council at its committee of the whole meeting on May 16, approved a recommendation from town staff to increase the budget for the Little River Park enhancement project from $200,000 to $420,000.
It was a good news/bad news situation for the town, with the bad news being the tendered price for the project came in more than twice the budget estimate. The good news is staff have secured a $315,000 grant to cover 75 per cent of the project costs. The remainder will come out of a reserve fund.
Staff explained to council that the current washroom facility is about 50 years old and needs to be replaced.
“It’s a very well-used facility and it’s in dire shape and needs to be replaced,” said Manager of Parks and Trails Terry Green.
The significant increase in the cost of the project over the budgeted amount raised eyebrows at the council table.
“That’s about $670 per square foot, that sounds a little bit expensive. Why is it this expensive? That seems to be on the upper end of building costs,” commented Mayor Alar Soever.
Town staff did not have a definitive answer for the mayor’s question.
“The construction industry does have the advantage now. The market is benefiting them,” said Director of Community Services Ryan Gibbons.
The town estimates the project will take 14-16 weeks to complete and the precise timing will depend on the availability of the contractor. Alternate washroom facilities will be available at the popular waterfront park during the construction.