Indoor basketball court

Firm Plans To Hire Locals For Rec Centre

By Denis Langloise
October 6, 2009

A firm hired to oversee construction of the multimillion-dollar recreation centre in Owen Sound is committed to employing local people, a key factor in the city’s decision, council heard last night. Council approved hiring Aquicon Construction of Brampton to serve as construction manager for the $35.4-million project.

“We need to convey to the public that there’s a commitment from the steering committee and council for as many of the 300 or so jobs as possible (for the rec centre) to go to local tradespeople and suppliers,” said Coun. David Adair, a recreation centre steering committee member. Mayor Ruth Lovell Stanners, also a committee member, said the firm has indicated a willingness to hire local subcontractors that purchase local products. “There should be a great local spinoff for the community,” she said. City manager Jim Harrold said an official with the construction company is interested in holding a job fair for local tradespeople and suppliers.

Indoor Gym
Kids playing hockey

Aquicon Construction was selected among 11 proposals received for the key position. Six firms were shortlisted for interviews. Each was asked how it intends to include “local trades” in the project, Harrold wrote in a report to council. Harrold said Aquicon has experience with “a lot of similar projects” with similar budgets and timeframes. One of the firm’s tasks, aside from its prime job of overseeing construction, will be to review plans for the recreation centre and suggest ways to reduce costs, Harrold said. Those discussions will include the steering committee and the prime consultant, architectural firm Shore Tilbe Irwin and Partners of Toronto. Harrold told council last week an early cost estimate for the project is roughly $1.8 million over budget, even with a $2.76 million boost in projected revenue sources. Those include increasing a community fundraising goal from $5 million to $6 million and asking the Family Y to donate the profit from the sale of its downtown building.Harrold said the gap still exists. “The committee is still proceeding along and has gone to the next level of planning. We’re hoping that we manage that gap as we move forward. I shouldn’t say ‘hope,’ we are confident we will manage the gap as we move forward,” Harrold said prior to the council meeting.

Adair has said finding the additional savings would be a challenge without altering “key” elements of the plan. They include: an eight-lane, 25-metre pool and warm water therapeutic pool, a fitness area, senior’s centre, four program rooms, related support amenities, common shared space and two regulation-sized ice pads with limited seating.

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