Pickering approves $58.39 million construction tender for Heritage & Community Centre


Published February 5, 2024 at 4:39 pm

Mock-up of the planned Pickering Heritage & Community Centre

The Pickering Heritage & Community Centre project is a go again after Council agreed Monday to accept a construction tender that will set the city back more than $58.39 million, a figured rejected last year as being too far over budget.

Pickering had said no to three bids last February after all the pre-qualified construction bids came in too high for the facility, which will bring together a museum, library and community centre into one place to celebrate the city’s rich history.

The lowest of the three bids last for the planned 44,000 sq. ft. building came in at $57.3 million (taxes in more than $20 million over the available budget), with the total cost for the project almost exactly the same s 2024’s successful bid.

The winning bid was submitted by J.R. Certus Construction Co. Ltd. in the amount of $51,953,000, with a total cost of $64,672,456, including construction and contingency fees. With the HST rebate factored in, the final tally to taxpayers is $58.24 million.

The bid was approved by a 5-1 vote at Monday’s Special Council meeting with Councillor Lisa Robinson the lone dissenting vote.

Council also agreed to award $200,000 to the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) for ecosystem compensation; as well as another $200,000 for archeological work.

Council will also farm out project management, with the contract not to exceed $430,000 and approved additional fees submitted by Hariri Pontarini Architects for contract management through the construction phases of the work up to $596,990.

The project will be funded through a variety of means, including $2.4 million from the Library Reserve Fund, $8 million from the Parks and Recreation Reserve Fund, $12.5 million through a grant received from Ottawa’s Green & Inclusive Community Building Program and another $4 million from the Canada Cultural Space Fund.

Those federal grants would have been lost if the project did not move forward.

Nearly $8.3 million will be financed through debentures, which are expected to be repaid by future development charges with annual repayment charges estimated at $759,359 per year.

The community centre will be the City’s first net zero facility, featuring enhanced insulation, triple glazed windows, solar panels, air source heat pumps and other similar features that in combination will meet the net zero design targets for the project.

It will also be Pickering’s first new recreation facility built since the community centre named for former Mayor (and father of the city’s current mayor) George Ashe more than 20 years ago.

The Pickering Heritage and Community Centre has been an ongoing project from a design perspective since 2018 and the City has already spent nearly $1.7 million before any shovel has hit the ground. COVID delayed the facility, noted Councillor Maurice Brenner, and the subsequent supply chain issues that plagued projects all around the world then conspired to drive the price up.

“While it was unfortunate this project was delayed by COVID …staff were able to find efficiencies that has enabled this project to move forward without losing the $16 million grant money.”


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