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Woolwich looks to trim costs of Heidelberg Park field house project

Unhappy with costs that came in well above its budget, Woolwich will look to the contractor with the lowest bid for suggestions to lower the price tag on a new community centre building in Heidelberg.

Frey Building Contractors’ bid of $442,500 was well above the targeted amount of $300,000 to $350,000 to replace the condemned field house with a new structure. Councillors meeting Tuesday night leaned towards sticking with an upper limit of $350,000, discussing scaling back the project or staging it in order to get closer to the target figure.

At the quoted price, Woolwich would have to come up with more than $177,000 to cover the shortfall between the total cost and the $273,000 that’s been raised so far, mostly the result of a $150,000 Ontario Trillium Fund grant. That the grant money has to be spent this year means the township has to move quickly to get something built by year’s end.

Coun. Mark Bauman suggested the project’s design be scaled back, perhaps eliminating “some of the frills” to bring down the costs without losing any functionality.

NEWS_HeidelbergFieldHouse_post“I think that there are ways we can lower this number substantially,” he said of the $443,000 price tag.

Chief administrative officer David Brenneman agreed the $350,000 target was “more doable.”

Coun. Murray Martin, however, cautioned about cutting back too much now with the idea of adding on later, noting that would end up costing more down the line.

“Let’s do it right the first time,” he said.

In the end, councillors agreed that going back to the contractor for suggestions on where to save money was the course to pursue.

Council now on summer hiatus until August, staff is expected to come back with a recommendation when meetings resume.

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  1. Well…it’s no surprise that the costs have reached well above what was original predicted, as no one has been telling the public actual costs along the way (costs have not been broken down to the public and the public has not been consulted at all on this project).

    As I have suggested before, there are many ways to cut way back on costs (and use the $150, 000 elsewhere in the park) as this proposed facility is not needed in such a small community since there are many great facilities already built & within close proximity (washrooms and other functions at Heidelberg park are needed well above a “facility”).

    Since the original inflated costs were announced months ago, township has not addressed: tear down, the many safety issues that currently plague the current park, programming/community events that will be introduced, proposed operating costs of a new building (to run and maintain), nor costs of training/hiring and retaining staff to man the facility 24/7 (you’ll need at least 1 unionized staff member and probably 3 rotating part time customer service staff members).

    Another suggestion that I have to pass along (since the Rec Association is not at all approachable or wanting to listen to community members), is to start charging all the businesses in Heidelberg who use the parks parking lot for free every business day; they take up at least 10 parking spots with large trucks/vans and they should be charged a premium to park there.

    Parks parking lots, in my mind, should be available for users of the park only. However I do understand that the businesses that front the main road in Heidelberg, have limited or no parking and do require some spots (so this could be a revenue generator that no one has looked at…and parking is becoming an issue as it’s difficult to get in and out of the parking lot with such large work trucks always parked there).

    Anyway, it was easy to see this proposal to fund such a facility going well beyond what the rec association thought, as they only made approximately $2000 in revenue during the 2015 year (this clearly shows, that any proposal should have been shot down a long time ago by any and all funders, as the assoc. does not have funds nor the perspective to look down the road at all the costs and how to generate revenue to ensure that tax payers are not on the hook for a huge mistake (it would be great if everyone stuck to the acronym “k.i.s.s.” for a change, as the township has made great mistakes in the recent past with regards to recreational facilities).

    It is also telling that the association is not looking at all angles, when the co-chairs of the rec association are only interested in sending out information and attracting 1 or 2 particular demographics to the park (those that have very young kids or those that play softball); the community consists of many different demographics and the assoc. should be looking at attracting the whole community as well as drawing people in from the outlying communities.

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