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Spirit Centre delayed until 2012

It looks as though Westlock and area residents looking to hit the ice next winter will spend one more year in Jubilee Arena. The new Westlock Rotary Spirit Centre will not be completed until early 2012, town CAO Darrell Garceau said last week.

It looks as though Westlock and area residents looking to hit the ice next winter will spend one more year in Jubilee Arena.

The new Westlock Rotary Spirit Centre will not be completed until early 2012, town CAO Darrell Garceau said last week.

Town of Westlock officials met Thursday with Brenex, the project’s construction manager, to continue to confirm which work will be done by which subcontractors. As of Thursday, not all the contracts had been awarded.

Mayor Bruce Lennon said he was disappointed by the delay, which came about because of the “extreme circumstances” surrounding the project. It had become increasingly clear the fall 2011 completion date was too soon.

“As the months slipped by, we realized it was a bit unrealistic,” he said, “but we’ll just have to live with it.”

It’s not necessarily a bad thing, Lennon added, because rushing to complete to project by a set deadline is a worse option than taking a bit more time to make sure the job is done properly.

“This gives us a bit more breathing room to get it done and get it done right,” he said. “That’s the key thing.”

Garceau made the same argument, saying that rushing to get things done would not be beneficial when looking at the overall budget for the project. “The reason for the delay is trying to make certain that as many sub-trades are approached to get good, competitive pricing,” he said. “We’re working through it.”

The project, which was originally scheduled to be finished in the fall of 2011, has faced a long series of delays. In November 2010 the general contractor for the project went into a voluntary receivership, then in the early spring the Town terminated its contract with Balon Construction. Brenex was hired as the new construction manager and is still in the process of securing subcontractors.

When Brenex came on as the construction manager earlier this year, Lennon said it seemed certain the cost of the project would increase. He added that anything within 10 per cent of the original $12.6 million budget — as much as $13.86 million — would be acceptable.

Garceau said he was still optimistic the price can come in within that range, adding that most of the subcontracts awarded so far have come in at less than 10 per cent over the original contracts.

He added that although Brenex has not yet provided a firm budget and schedule to the town, work on the project continues. Last week for example, crews were thawing the ground. Brenex will meet with town officials again early this week, Garceau said.