The City of Thompson has received considerable help when it comes to paying for a new pool but could have to find nearly as much money as it has right now to cover its share, depending upon construction costs.
Though recent announcements of $11 million from the federal and provincial governments and $2 million from Vale give the city $13 million in total, that’s probably only about 70 per cent of the actual cost in a best-case scenario and less than 60 per cent in the worst case.
Although the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program grant that the city received from the federal and provincial governments calls for it to provide $4 million toward construction costs, city manager Anthony McInnis told council’s May 16 committee of the whole meeting that the design developed by Stantec is actually estimated to cost at least $19 million, though that could balloon up to $24 million, especially considering inflation and supply chain issues that are affecting the global economy right now.
“There’s a great deal of uncertainty moving forward,” said McInnis, who was responding to a question from Coun. Jeff Fountain about the expected cost of a new pool.
An update by the city in November said Stantec’s design and engineering study recommended land to the east of the Thompson Regional Community Centre as the best location for a new pool, which is envisioned as having a waterslide, a six-lane 25-metre accessible pool with one accessible lane, a beach-entry recreational pool, a sauna and a multi-purpose rooms for parties and swim meets. Basically, the design has the same features as the Norplex but the two pools will be totally separate, so the whole pool will not have to be shut down due to fecal contamination, commonly referred to as a pool fouling.
In November, the city said it had $1.2 million already set aside for the project, which represents about a fifth of the minimum it will need.
Fountain also asked the city manager if the fact that there was a maximum amount on the ICIP grant had any implications for the city, while Coun. Les Ellsworth asked what would happen to the $11 million from the provincial and federal governments if Thompson was unable to proceed with the project because of the cost.
McInnis said the grant money is typically kept in trust by the other levels of government until the city spends it and that the maximum amounts applied only to the federal and provincial contributions.
“The variance in the project cost, that’s up to city council,” said the city manager.