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Waterfront steering committee realizes scope and timeline for Gyro Park plaza project will change
Coun. C. J. Rhodes, a member of the waterfront steering committee, made a brief presentation to Town of Osoyoos council last week saying committee members remain confident one of the largest park projects in this town’s history will proceed, even though the scope and grandeur of the project may have to be reduced.
In April, Alain Cunningham, the town’s director of development and planning, shocked many members of council when he announced the proposed $465,000 to construct Phase I of the Gyro Park upgrade was almost 50 per cent over budget as the lowest contract bid submitted was more than $800,000.
The waterfront steering committee, which includes Rhodes, town CAO Barry Romanko, Cunningham and Gerald Davis, the town’s director of community services, met only days after Cunningham’s report to talk about the ramifications.
The unanimous feeling shared by members of the committee is this project will proceed, although it may take longer than two years as originally planned, said Rhodes.
“When the community has a dream … hard reality often sets in,” said Rhodes.
Even though the original budget estimate from Outland Design from Kelowna for Phase I of the Gyro Park Plaza has been increased to just under $600,000, council voted to re-tender the project later this summer.
Many contractors already have major contracts lined up and may not have offered their best price for the Gyro Park upgrade and the hope is tender bids will be reduced dramatically after a re-tendering process, said Cunningham.
The waterfront steering committee did not discuss whether construction should start in September or be delayed another month, but does want to know how long construction will take before making a recommendation to council, said Rhodes.
The committee is also in favour of building the park in numerous phases instead of just two phases scheduled for this summer and next summer, said Rhodes.
“When reality sets in and you realize you can’t afford what you wanted … things have to change,” said Rhodes. “This project is still going to go ahead. Some of the things we wanted will change and many will have to be phased in over a number of years.
“But I’m still really feeling positive about this project. Almost everything that we wanted is still achievable, but it may take a little longer than we envisioned.”
The town will continue to ask Outland Design to complete a new time line for completing Phase One based on available funding and they will also review specific materials and speak with suppliers about opportunities for cost savings, said Rhodes.
Some aspects of the overall tender can also be handled through separate tenders that would appeal to small local contractors and staff will request Outland determine how much would be saved by substituting some of these projects on their own.
The idea of upgrading Gyro Park and establishing a beautiful new plaza was conceived two years ago following an extended community workshop by numerous stakeholders, including members of town council, numerous business owners, arts group and regular citizens.
There was unanimous approval following the workshop that Gyro Park was one of the most beautiful, accessible and popular areas in the town and that upgrading and beautifying the park should be made a top priority by town council.
When it was revealed last month that the cost estimates to complete phase one of the Gyro Park Plaza were way over budget, Mayor Stu Wells and members of council agreed unanimously that the project should be re-tendered, a process that will begin in July.