The Sam Ketcham Memorial Pool Project will come in around $979,000 above its estimated cost. (Greg Sabatino photo)

Sam Ketcham Pool project over budget; on track for phase one to open in June

The Sam Ketcham Memorial Pool will come in just under $1 million more than anticipated.

The Sam Ketcham Memorial Pool will come in just under $1 million more than anticipated, but that isn’t a total shock to project planners.

The Cariboo Regional District board endorsed a recommendation last Friday from the Central Cariboo Joint Committee to amend its financial plan to add $979,000 to the Sam Ketcham Memorial Pool project for its completion, said Joan Sorley, CRD Area F director and spokesperson for the pool project’s working group.

“It’s disappointing,” Sorley said. “I’m not going to pretend anything otherwise. I’m refusing to say we’ve increased the budget. We’re not. We’re over budget.”

Sorley said there are several reasons for the cost overrun — a substantial amount due to building deficiencies.

“It’s a 37-year-old structure,” she said. “Some of the (building) code has changed between when the building was built and now. You open a wall or dig a hole and find something there (that needs to be fixed). To be fair that is pretty standard. When you do renos you never know what you’re going to get.”

The good news is, however, the increase in spending won’t affect taxpayers.

“Over the five-year financial plan we’ve approved it does not affect the money we already said we need for the pool,” she said. “We’re not anywhere near the cap that the (pool) referendum put on that.”

The 2014 pool project referendum approved the borrowing of up to $10 million over 20 years to provide for the upgrade and renovation of the pool and amenities at the Cariboo Memorial Recreation Complex.

“It will be a combination of borrowing surplus in our recreation budget that’s already existing and capital money in our recreation fund which is already existing,” Sorley said. “There won’t be any additional burden on the taxpayers.”

The total cost of the pool project is now up to roughly $14.1 million, up from the originally-estimated $13.1 million.

Sorley, meanwhile, assured a top-notch facility, and said the CRD is not willing to cut corners in order to stay within its originally-estimated cost projection for the project.

“We’re diligently looking at all of this to make sure that we’re not changing the scope of the project,” she said. “We’re not changing any of it and we’re not compromising for quality.”

The opening of phase one of the Sam Ketcham Memorial Pool project is scheduled for mid-June. The estimated grand opening of the completion of both phase one and two is slated for sometime in the fall of 2017.