Arena over budget, behind shedule

Now estimated at $6.8 million

Nustadia Recreation will take over operating the arena April 1, but the first of five renovation phases won’t be completed until June.

Nustadia Recreation will take over operating the arena April 1, but the first of five renovation phases won’t be completed until June.

It will costs the City of Pitt Meadows at least a million dollars more to complete an upgrade of its hockey arena.Unforeseen repairs to shore up piles under the arena have delayed completion of the first phase of the project at least until June, driving up construction costs to $6.8 million from a previous $5.3 million.The first of five upgrade phases was initially scheduled to be complete by the end of March.General Manager of Parks and Recreation Kelly Swift repairing piles under the arena was necessary.“It is an important element in the facility and had to be done,” she added.“It has been completed, so we are just in the middle of reviewing financial forecasts and timelines.”Once completed, the arena will have a completely renovated interior, with new concession, office, and skate shop, as well as washroom and dressing room upgrades.A roof upgrade and installation of exterior cladding is currently in process. To fund the construction delay, staff presented several funding options to Pitt Meadows council on Tuesday: • short-term or internal borrowing; • redirecting city reserve funds budgeted for the youth action park and library, then borrowing to complete those projects;• accelerating a land sale and using the money to fund the arena upgrade and offset planned borrowing;• long-term borrowing.Swift said people who use the arena will start noticing changes soon.“I know a lot of the work we have done to date is not something the public can see. It has been underneath the building. But relatively soon you will start to see improvement,” she added.The city could also divert around $740,000 to the arena upgrade from recently completed capital projects which were under budget.Meanwhile, Nustadia Recreation Inc. was awarded a new five-year operating contract for Pitt Meadows Arena on Thursday. The company, which operates seven facilities across Canada, takes the reins of the 80,000 square foot complex April 1.Interim operators Recreation Excellence will continue to manage the arena until Nustadia takes over.Nustadia was up against four others for the arena contract.Swift and a committee of volunteers who helped pick the new operators liked Nustadia’s focus on community.Once Nustadia takes over, the company will form a facility management team that includes representatives from Nustadia, parks and recreation and the city.“There will be a tighter relationship with parks and leisure and the city and how it is operated,” said Swift.“We are quite excited that we get to participate in setting the annual work plan and the goals that we are working towards. We get to part of that dialogue.”Nustadia will also meet with groups who use the arena after it takes over operations.

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