Referendum costs cut by $1 million

Sports complex designs have been squeezed and the belt-tightening may not be done yet.

Sports complex designs have been squeezed and  the belt-tightening may not be done yet.

Greater Vernon Advisory Committee members eliminated $1 million Thursday from the budget package, bringing the potential borrowing cost from $8.5 million to up to $7.5 million.

“It’s a reflection of the total amount that will go to referendum but it doesn’t mean we will spend that amount,” said Mike Macnabb, chairperson.

One way to reduce costs further for the Okanagan College site is to have user groups raise funds for items like hurdles, steeple barriers and track blocks.

“We will look to the users to come up with ideas and act on them,” said director Jim Garlick.

There is also the hope that expenses could be reduced further if construction tenders come in less than expected.

Among the items that were eliminated Thursday were off-site works like curbs and sidewalks and a covered seating area.

“It’s a balance between user groups and what they say they want or need and the public that has to buy-in to this,” said Garlick.

While the original plan called for a sand-based soccer field for $195,000, the nod has now been given to $50,000 for a soil-based natural grass field.

“Sand-based fields require more maintenance,” said director Bob Fleming.

Many items in the original plan, though, will remain, including $1.1 million for a synthetic turf field instead of $525,000 for natural grass.

“Any sports with cleats really damages the (natural grass) field and with late season sports, the fields don’t recover over the winter,” said Keith Pinkoski, planner.

A rubberized track, with a 25-year life expectancy, is still part of the plan at $1.7 million. The other option was $1.5 million for a polyurethane surface, which would last 12 years.

There was also considerable debate over two buildings designated for storage, public washrooms and change rooms.

But, ultimately, the $1.3 million cost for the buildings was retained because some board members suggested reducing scope could negatively impact booking events.

“I’ve been to facilities where the change rooms are nickeled and dimed and a kid is out on a bench because the change room is too small,” said Fleming.