Rainy Lake Square remains over-budget

Duane Hicks

Town council might have to consider kicking in upwards of $380,000 toward the future Rainy Lake Square project–or start cutting key components.
After the project tender closed April 11, it become apparent that the tenders all were over-budget, with the lowest one (RML Contracting Ltd. of Thunder Bay) being over by about $618,000.
Since that time, Operations and Facilities manager Travis Rob has been working with the architect, as well as the low bidder, to review the bid and look at different opportunities to bring the cost more in line with the project’s budget.
“We are currently over-budget by about $380,000,” Rob told council Monday night.
“To get us down to that point, we have not yet really changed anything as far as the overall look and functionality of the space,” he noted.
“We’ve left the intent of the space whole–we’ve just done changes to different spec items and pieces within it that most people aren’t even going to notice.”
Rob also has sent a few questions to the contractor regarding some of the costing in the tender and hopes to hear back soon.
This may further reduce the cost.
“That being said, in order for us to get to within budget, we’re going to have to either have council look at adding some funds to the project or starting to cut some key pieces from the project,” Rob warned.
He is in the process of preparing a report for the Operations and Facilities executive committee next week, at which time the matter will be discussed further.
A recommendation then will come before council for final approval,
Rob noted construction still is expected to start in May.
Other than in-kind services, the town has not contributed any finances to the Rainy Lake Square project to date–all of the funding has come from provincial and federal governments, as well as The Shops on Scott (BIA).
“From our point of view, we really haven’t put a lot of financial resources into that,” conceded Fort Frances CAO Doug Brown.
“You know and I know with infrastructure projects in Ontario, usually you’re paying about one-third,” he noted.
Any contribution from the town would not affect this year’s budget, as the money would be drawn from reserves.