Skyrocketing costs that ballooned close to $1 million have scuppered plans for Oliver’s Station Street plaza.
The costs for local taxpayers had already doubled from the original $200,000 budget from the town to $400,000 when the final design was approved in May 2022.
After the project was put out to tender, though, the costs only continued to rise while the $600,000 in grant funding from the federal government stayed the same.
By the time the project returned to Oliver’s council on Feb. 13, the town’s portion of the costs had grown to $800,000 — and it wouldn’t even afford what the council had approved back in May.
“We worked with our design team, our landscape architect and electrical consultants to reduce the scope to try and bring the project closer to the budget, ” said Steve Underwood, representing TRUE Consulting for the project.
The revised project was split into two different contracts with a combined budget of $1.43 million, with some aspects that could be targeted to be changed to save between $50,000 to $100,000.
Those cost savings weren’t enough in the face of the dramatic rise in the town’s share of the costs for the project to keep going forward with it as it is.
“I don’t think we can afford to give up all of the other projects we have to do in town, all of our other capital works that we haven’t yet discussed at budget time,” said Coun. David Mattes.
Every member of council was unanimous in their support of stepping back on the project and revisiting it later.
“It’s just too expensive, and even just an extra $30,000 is a lot of money for the Town of Oliver, and we’ve got a lot of needs that we have to take care of,” said Mayor Martin Johansen. “I think there’s some opportunities and we don’t need to jump at this one right now.”
The federal grant funding for the project is available for the town to use until the end of 2023.
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