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Ponoka Aquaplex roof cost estimate jumps by $260,000

The estimated cost to replace the Town of Ponoka’s aquaplex roof jumped by $260,000.
Town of Ponoka council was upset at administration for requesting an additional $260,000 to replace the roof. A special meeting was held Sept. 19 to finalize the request. Full details of the meeting in next week’s edition of Ponoka News. File photo

The estimated cost to replace the Town of Ponoka’s aquaplex roof jumped by $260,000.

Justin Caslor, engineering technician for the Town of Ponoka, told a disbelieving council that a new roof replacement cost is estimated at $632,000, up from the original $372,000 estimate, which was approved earlier this year.

“It probably should have been done 20 years ago. It’s in very poor condition,” said Caslor.

The town recently received five tenders for the project:

1. Western Weather Protector – $530,695.00

2. Flynn Group of Companies - $499,485.00

3. Fraser Bros. Roofing Ltd. - $562,134.00

4. Knights Roofing Ltd. - $449,958.00 (the recommended contractor)

5. Acron Roofing - $686,397.00

The recommendation was to approve Knights Roofing plus some additions: the company would supply a new, permeable wall membrane ($71,600) and supply and install a poly cover inside the pool area ($38,423) to minimize dust, which would allow the pool to be open during the roof installation.

In addition, two contingency amounts of 10 per cent would be set aside, one for the roof work and the other for the two extra options, which brings the cost to $632,000.

Council was told a tentative start schedule would be Sept. 18, just six days after the council meeting. Coun. Sandra Lyon pointed out that is not a lot of time to make a decision with such a high cost.

The question from council was why such an increase.

Caslor said the previous consultants missed some issues so the town engaged the services of another consulting group.

“We pay these consultants quite a bit of money,” stated Coun. Carla Prediger, pointing out that there’s no real accountability with these companies if they provide the town with inaccurate information.

She called this a “horrendous situation” with no accountability.

Wes Amendt, director of community services, said there hasn’t been an engineering assessment of the pool’s roof, just of the facility.

At the time the roof was identified as a need, stated Prediger, the costs were initially suggested at $150,000 by then consultant’s assessment and then a new price of $342,000 came.

Now with this new consultant and a new plan, the cost is even more, she said.

Mayor Rick Bonnett wanted to know why the town went with a different consulting firm.

Caslor says part of the reason is because the roof needs a different seal that wasn’t originally identified. That’s due because of the humidity coming from the pool, he explained.

Council wasn’t pleased.

“We can’t make good decisions because we don’t know what is right anymore,” said Coun. Teri Underhill.

“Is this the real bang for our buck for our taxpayers?”

Gulka asked about utility cost savings in the building with the roof replacement. Caslor says he believes it is significant as there is quite a bit of heat loss due to the current roof issues.

Paying for the project

Council was told that paying for the increase is possible as there is an almost finished project at the Ponoka Culture and Recreation Complex.

“The savings from the rink isn’t identified,” stated Prediger, adding that there was a hand written note for how much money is available.

Administration’s recommendation was to reallocate funds from the arena mechanical room upgrade, estimated at $200,000 of funds from the Municipal Sustainability Initiative (MSI) grant, plus another $61,000 from a Hudson Green project, also MSI money.

Amendt told council the project is almost 80 per cent complete ($40,000 spent) at the arena so he felt confident that the money would be there.

Council wanted to know exactly how much money is available, which wasn’t available.

The request was tabled pending more reliable information from administration.

A special meeting was called Sept. 19 to discuss the aquaplex roof. Results of that meeting were not available at press time.