A motion to award the renovations for the Qualicum Beach waterfront washrooms was deferred back to staff at the Jan. 29 meeting after the cost came in nearly $90,000 more than the original budget. — Lauren Collins photo

Qualicum Beach council balks at beach washroom reno

Nearly $240,000 price tag 'out of the realm of reality'

A motion to award the renovation of the beach washrooms in Qualicum Beach to a local company was deferred back to staff after the cost was nearly $90,000 more than the original budget.

The motion was to award the tender for renovations to Don May Construction Ltd. of Qualicum Beach. The original budget was an estimated $150,000, with $125,000 coming from the Town of Qualicum Beach and $25,000 to come from a provincial government grant to improve accessibility for the waterfront washrooms.

Last Monday’s (Jan. 29) agenda stated the town had allocated $100,000 for the project and there was “sufficient” funding in the 2016 capital budget for the remaining $25,000 to make up the $125,000 from the town.

The washroom building requires a new roof and the interior of the building isn’t accessible to some peope with disabilities.

Planning director Luke Sales said a comprehensive design process was undertaken rather than working on the building piecemeal.

“Since then, the design has continued to evolve through consultation with the architect working for the town and also with local contractors,” Sales said.

Additional features and upgrades include new drywall ceilings, partitions and doors, floor coverings, lighting and exhaust fan systems and upgraded electrical service. There was also an option for a rock exterior and a bench.

Mayor Teunis Westbroek said the stonework was “nice but not needed,” and instead suggest painting the exterior of the bathroom to look similar to the one behind the Leigh House on Second Avenue.

By not incorporating certain elements, such as the stonework, Sales said it would bring the cost down to $215,000-$220,000.

However, Coun. Bill Luchtmeijer said that was still too much money.

“We’re putting washrooms on the beach; $240,000 to put washrooms on the beach. To me, that just steps right out of the realm of reality,” Luchtmeijer said.

Luchtmeijer said he thought they needed to take the ideas and go back to the drawing board and come up with “something that we can afford as a municipality.”

“We had a $100,000-budget, which at that time, I thought was extravagant.”

Town CAO Daniel Sailland said the reality is the town has put “very little investment” into the area over time.

“It is one of our key areas for tourism in the summer — the beachfront… We’re hoping that if we can proceed with some form of this project, we can actually have it ready for this summer. The concern is that when we reformat it again, we don’t want to be shut down during the summer. We can’t afford to be shut down during the summer,” Sailland said.

Send story tips to: lauren.collins@pqbnews.com

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