Coun. Zanon

Coun. Carol Zanon wondered aloud whether the increasing costs of the West Kelowna soccer dome make the project worth continuing.

The rising cost of West Kelowna’s soccer dome has one councillor wondering if the project is worth pursuing.

Coun. Carol Zanon said that initially she was not in favour of the indoor project but became convinced it had to be done for the growing municipality.

In a report presented to council Tuesday, councillors learned the cost of the project, currently budgeted at $3.8 million, will be going up because of unforeseen costs for washrooms.

While the proposal for the dome dates back several years, city officials did not realize until late November that it would need to include eight public washrooms, according to the BC Building Code.

“We’re way up to four million bucks now with a washroom added, and I’m thinking, ‘how did we get here?’” said Zanon.

“She said she felt the high cost was difficult to justify to people in the community who do not play soccer.

“I want to support the youth of our community and the other uses it will have for seniors to have a place to walk around in the winter . . . but it’s getting harder and harder to do it as these costs keep going up and up,” she said. “Are there alternatives at this stage? Are we locked in?”

West Kelowna CAO Jim Zaffino said that at this point the project is too far along to consider eliminating it.

Coun. Doug Findlater agreed the washrooms are an added cost but said the increase doesn’t really bother him “because we collapsed a number of projects into this project that would have required operation and maintenance costs.”

Last year, city council dropped other planned recreation projects to free up money needed for the dome.

Findlater asked if the cost of building washrooms in the dome would be anywhere near the cost of a Kelowna City Park washroom that was built in 2013 for $800,000.

“Certainly we are looking at more optimistic and frugal options,” said parks planner Mark Roberts. “While we don’t have a construction cost estimate developed yet, we are in the process of hiring an architectural consultant who will make recommendations and put together a design.”

Once that design is complete, staff will present a construction cost estimate to council, he said.

Coun. Rick de Jong briefly mentioned the washrooms in his comments, saying he was going to let the issue go.

“I will say I was left shaking my head a little bit,” he said.

Findlater also indicated concern about the tender for the project, which will be issued soon.

“If the tenders are way off, we have postponed projects before, and we may have to do that if we’re feeling the impact of a very expensive construction period,” he said.

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