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Scugog Theatre bell tower project costs see a steep increase

DAN CEARNS The Standard

SCUGOG: Costs for the Township of Scugog's project to rehabilitate the Bell Tower, on Town Hall 1873 in Port Perry, have ballooned.

The original budget for the project was $75,000, following the tower's removal in 2019 for safety reasons. However, at a meeting in late July, councillors saw a report from Kevin Arsenault, the Township's Manager of Capital Projects, which recommended a contract be awarded to Robertson Restoration in the amount of $238,000. With the net cost of Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) and HST rebates factored in and a 15 percent contingency fund, this brings the grand total of the project to $278,517.

"The original scope of the project was just to do the aesthetic portion of this project for the Bell Tower, to put it back in place. Upon further investigation, during the design, additional work was identified [which] needed to be completed as part of this. Therefore, the cost has increased significantly," Mr. Arsenault told councillors, at the July 31st meeting.

The report states the project will include: structural steel and masonry work, interior repairs, safety features and electrical repairs caused by age and water damage, mobilization and material testing costs and caulking of windows and doors.

Ward 5 Councillor Terry Coyne questioned if there are any grant funds the Township could use to offset the new costs.

"At this time, there is no grant money available to help. There is a small chance, if the rest of the project comes in under budget, we might be able to get more [Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP)] grants. But I'd say that's a very small chance, and we won't know that for a couple of years," Carol Coleman, Scugog's Director of Public Works and Infrastructure Services, responded.

Regional Councillor Ian McDougall struggled with supporting this project.

"I'm fully a supporter of having a bell in a bell tower, but at $1,800 [per] square foot, I don't know if I'm going to be able to support this," he stated.

Mr. Arsenault stressed, with the age of the building, all of the work included in the envelope is necessary to maintain a safe building.

Councillors later voted to award the contract and allocate $152,846 from the Facility and Building Reserve to fund a portion of that project.

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