Work on the $1.6 million dollar expansion of the Hope Arena is moving ahead thanks to the help of Emil Anderson Maintenance – but the project is not entirely without small glitches.
The company got the project off to a great start donating $15,000 in equipment and manpower to excavate the building site at the back of the ice rink.
“It showed great civic pride,” said Area B director, Dennis Adamson, at a recent meeting of the Hope and District Recreation Commission.
The project, a decade in the planning and funding, is aimed retiring the aging changing rooms and bathrooms within the Hope arena – bathrooms in such poor condition that in the past the Fraser Health Department has threatened to close them down if they are not brought up to health standards. Construction finally started last month and is fully-funded through Recreation Commission reserves, donations and grant funding.
Although the project is considered too financially tight by many in the construction industry, Unitec Construction has promised to bring the project in on budget. Acting as project manager, Milly Marshall, who manages the Hope and District Recreation Commission, adjusts the plans as necessary to fit within the construction company’s recommendations.
Plans include four new change rooms, showers, and bathrooms on the first floor of the new building, and a multi-purpose room and washrooms on the upper floor. While the new change rooms are expected to enhance the use of the local hockey arena, the second floor of the building will be used for recreation programs, private business meetings and special events.
But staying to the financial target is a challenge and every dollar counts. And although the Recreation Commission is a partnership between the District of Hope and the Fraser Valley Regional District – the project partners are at odds with each other over a $15,000 bill for building inspection presented to Fraser Valley Regional District staff by District of Hope staff.
“We, as politicians, have to take the bullets not staff,” said FVRD Area A director, Lloyd Forman, asking the Hope mayor to take his staff’s decision to send off the taxpayer to taxpayer bill, straight to his council for re-consideration.
To make the tight budget, and cover unexpected costs like the District of Hope’s building inspection, a dividing wall in the upper meeting room was cut at a saving of $12,500, and the pre-sprung flooring for the multi-purpose room was eliminated at a saving of $12,000.
“Unitech continues to work towards cost savings wherever possible… They are continually seeking out alternative products and presenting less costly options for consideration while ensuring quality work… that meets the needs of a high-use commercial building,” added Marshall, in her report to the commission.
A letter from the Recreation Commission has been sent to Hope Council asking for part relief from the costs of building inspection currently levied against the project.