Cost for new aquatic centre in Summerland skyrockets, leaving council to ponder debt and taxes

$49M for new pool?

The cost of a new aquatic centre in Summerland is now pegged at $49 million, a huge hike from an estimate provided late last year, thanks in part to inflation and supply chain issues.

For years, the district has been discussing the aging aquatic centre in council chambers, and speaking with the public about what to do next.

An engagement process in late 2021 showed public support for a brand new centre, rather than upgrades to the old one.

The latest estimate presented to council on Monday, Dec. 12, shows it could cost around $49 million to replace the aquatic centre.

As of last year, that cost estimate had been roughly $38 million to either rebuild at its existing location on Kelly Avenue or move to Jubilee Road, the latter being the eventual decision made.

"The significant cost increase from the November 2021 project cost to this updated project cost is partly reflected in the escalated pricing for glass and glazing (windows), aluminum (supply chain issues), overall building envelope cost increases, and formwork for concrete ($10/foot to $15/foot for simple foundation work). The estimated construction costs are up approximately 28 per cent," explains a staff report from director of community services Lori Mullin presented to council Monday.

The current 2023 budget has an allocation of $100,000 for the centre project. District staff have already submitted a grant application for $6 million through the Union of B.C. Municipalities Priorities fund.

According to a staff report, without any grants, Summerland homeowners could see major hikes in their taxes to pay for the centre if the district chooses to go into debt to pay for it.

An average 2022 assessed home, for example, at a value of $790,506, would pay $560.13 annually more than before.

The matter was only presented to council for information on Monday. A full report will be presented to council in January, at which time council will discuss and potentially vote.

More Penticton News