While not all the calculations are complete, the final price tag on the new aquatic/curling centre is anticipated to be about $48.6 million, town council was told Oct. 10.

Deputy CAO Suzanne Gaida explained it's too early to provide an exact cost of the project but gave an estimate and said a final project report should be presented to council before the end of 2017. 

The project costs to date are $48.2 million but that is expected to change. There are some invoices that need to be paid, equipment to be purchased, outstanding delay claims, as well as some holdbacks and liens to be finalized with contractors. In addition, there are credits to be applied to the project and those will likely include the fencing and trailers purchased for the project that will at least in part be transferred to the next major anticipated project, the new police station. In addition, the project budget includes the cost of development fees normally charged by the town, which council wanted included in the calculations.

Councillor Jeff Toews believes it would have cost more to complete the project if it was delayed and said council made the right choice to proceed. If the town had put all of its money into infrastructure and roads first, the new pool project many residents wanted to see would still be left on the table.

As of September 30, the new aquatic centre had 33,000 visits, Gaida told council. There have also been 30 more teams join curling leagues amounting to another 100 to 120 users.

"So, that's good news as well and they're excited about the ice they have," said Gaida. "They had a very prestigious curler here, Russ Howard, and he likes the ice, so we're good."

Toews was impressed with the useage numbers for both the aquatic centre and curling club and is confident the town will soon be contributing under $500,000 per year for its operation, roughly the budget for the Big Hill Pool.

"I honestly think that by 2019 we'll be below $500,000, which puts us ahead of the game."

There is some finetuning taking place with the centre and that likely will continue over the next year, Gaida told council.

"There are some fixes and repairs ongoing and we should expect that for at least a year through the warranty period," she explained.

Pressure has come to bare on the question during the current municipal election and an update on the project was presented in part to deflate rumours of it well exceeding $50 million. Mayor Ivan Brooker, for one, wanted to see some sort of report come forward to put people's minds at ease, but recognizes its only an estimate at this point. 

The project originally had a price tag of $45 million but as it progressed was revised to $48 million.

Outgoing Councillor Mary Lou Eckmeier requested the incoming council receive monthly reports on town capital projects.

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