KAMLOOPS — The City of Kamloops has awarded the tender for its controversial Lansdowne parkade improvement project, and the price is going up significantly.
The project is largely aesthetic in nature, with contractor A&T Project Developments cleaning and painting the parkade, and installing a metal mesh over the exterior.
After that work is complete, artist Bill Frymire has been commissioned to create a large-scale mosaic made out of tiles.
Capital Projects Manager Darren Crundwell says A&T's winning bid resulted in the city needing to budget another $250,000 for the project.
The previously budgeted cost for both the structural improvement and the mosaic was $725,000.
Crundwell says material cost is the primary reason the initial budget was out of whack.
"The cost of materials did go up significantly since we did the estimate to now. When I say 'materials,' I mean the structural steel work on the outside of the parkade," said Crundwell. "We are also were hoping that we would receive on this job. We did only receive two bids."
"I think it's just a unique project, as well. We don't do too many public art projects and nothing of this scale. I think the combination of those things just drove the price up a little bit."
While largely making the parkade more pleasing to the eye, Crundwell notes it will also extend the life of the garage.
"There is some maintenance work, too. We're painting the whole thing; that's going to provide some more life to the structure. So cleaning, painting before we get in there and do some of the structural work and then the artist will come in and do his part with the tiles and what not," said Crundwell.
The manager acknowledges the increased budget may raise eyebrows - and the city isn't happy about it, either - but 80 to 90 per cent of city projects come in under budget.
"When we are delivering 50, 60 major capital projects per year, we do have to take a step back and look at the ones that went well; not just the few that we miss," said Crundwell.
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