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Supply chain pressures, startup delays hike budget for Sault Downtown Plaza to $11.6M


Meeting on Monday, city councillors in Sault Ste. Marie will be asked to approve another budget increase for the Downtown Plaza project.

Originally pegged at $6.6 million in 2019, councillors approved a revised estimate of more than $8.4 million in May 2021. That increased to $10.19 million in May 2022 after bids on the project came in higher than expected.

A staff report at the time cited soaring inflation in the construction industry, with residential construction costs up an estimated 21.7 per cent and non-residential up by 11.2 per cent.

The city was also unsuccessful in its bid to get $2 million in funding from the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corp. (NOHFC) for the project.

However, fundraising reached a total of $1.1 million and the project received $500,000 from FedNor and $250,000 from a provincial rural economic development program.

A staff report for Monday’s meeting said global supply pressures are causing delays and driving up costs.

“The most significant delay was the availability of equipment and materials for the outdoor rink feature,” the report said.

“These supply chain issues have delayed the ability to pour the rink until the spring timeframe when the frost is out of the ground. Other delays impacted the project schedule and necessitated pouring of some concrete elements into the winter months which requires additional heating and hoarding costs to be incurred.”

To partially offset the latest cost increase, the report suggests using $660,000 previously earmarked for the Mill Market project. That money is no longer needed because the project successfully applied for funding from upper levels of government.

The remainder of the cost increase would be funded by delaying plans to replace the ‘A’ dock at the Bellevue Marina.

“Staff have reviewed and believe that the ‘A’ dock can be maintained and operated safely for another season,” the report said.

By using these funding sources, the report said no increase to property taxes would be required to move forward with the plaza.

“The request for additional funding for the plaza project at this time is required to continue with project construction and accommodate current change orders and fees,” the report said.

“Should the Mill Market be successful in their other applications, this will further reduce the city share in the project.”

Read the full report here. Top Stories

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