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Aug 8,2007 - The Now News

John Kurucz, Coquitlam NOW
Published: Wednesday, August 08, 2007

A number of unanticipated hurdles, a red-hot construction market and province-wide labour shortages have all played a part in the 10-month delay of the completion of the revamped Port Moody Recreation Complex.

Ron Higo, the City of Port Moody's director of community services, spoke to The NOW on Tuesday to shed light on some of the relative setbacks that have caused the delay.

Despite the 10-month backlog, many reasons for the stall were beyond the city's controls: rising construction costs, a lack of available resources and workers, unexpected soil conditions, poor weather, design errors and cost disputes between the city and various contractors involved in the undertaking.

"From the moment we started, there's been a lot of heated activity in (the construction sector). It's always a concern," Higo said. "The availability of some resources played a part in the delay, but we are quite lucky that we started when we did."

The recreation centre was originally scheduled for completion in March, but that date has been pushed to January 2008. A large portion Program.

However, approximately $900,000 remains tied up in disputed payments between the city and some of the contracted companies. Higo would not disclose the nature of those disputes, and didn't indicate definitively if and when that information would be made public.

"We'll have to wait and see when that flushes out," he said. "The project will continue in the meantime."

A release issued by the city on Aug. 7 explains that even though the bulk of the project is on a fixed contract, the current workload includes a number of items that are invoiced by the city on a cost-plus basis -- soil excavation and design errors and omissions are extras that are calculated on a cost-plus basis.

That same release indicates that construction market cost escalation has exceeded 12 per cent per year over the last two years.

The latest setback comes on the heels of last year's delayed opening of the international-sized ice rink, which opened in December 2006, four months later than expected.

To date, both the new ice sheet and the curling rink improvements have been completed, while replacing the older rink's arena floor is "99 per cent completed."

Higo said the new gymnasium and weight room, along with the aerobics studio and a handful of other features, are still under construction.

Higo explained that the design errors came as a result of discrepancies between the time when the initial blueprints were drawn and when crews began working on the grounds. He said those types of design problems can't definitively be identified until the actual work begins.

"That can happen with any project," Higo said.

Another setback in the process occurred when geotechnical crews discovered that some of the soil on the sight was too soft -- as a result, more digging was needed.

"All in all, it's not too bad," Higo said. "We certainly wished it was done on time."

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