HAPPY VALLEY-GOOSE BAY, N.L.
The Labrador Wellness Centre is one step closer to reality.
Happy Valley-Goose Bay town council awarded the contract valued at over $25 million for the building of the facility at a meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 27.
“It’s a big project, its something that we’re looking forward to,” Mayor Wally Andersen told The Labradorian after the meeting. “There are concerns out there by people on how much it will cost us, so the onus is on us to make sure we build this wonderful facility and run it efficiently at a low cost to the people.”
Council was told that it would cost the town approximately $173,000 a year to operate, based on numbers provided by the YMCA, who will be running the facility.
The construction contract, valued at $25,313,418, was awarded to Pomerleau Inc., a Quebec-based Construction Company. Council was told four applicants were involved in the request for proposals and three made bids, with this being the lowest.
The overall cost is just over $30 million, with the federal contribution at $7.5 million, the provincial government kicking in $11.5 million, Nalcor providing $1 million, and a HST rebate will cover $4.1 million. The remaining $6.5 million will be provided by the town, with $5 million of that slated to come from donations and contributions. Andersen said he thinks they’ll be able to raise the full $6.5 through donations.
“Our council is quite confident with our capital campaign committee in place and the rebate from the HST that we honestly truly believe the town will come forward with what’s required without any cost to the town,” he said.
Andersen said the capital campaign committee has been hard at work and he’s confident they won’t have to borrow the money or raise taxes to cover the $6.5 million.
He said having the Labrador Wellness Centre would help the town in a number of ways, including drawing in professionals.
“With this Wellness Centre we’re confident, once people see this beautiful facility, it will entice them to come to our community,” he said.
The motion to approve the contract was unanimous but some councillors did have questions before the vote. Joe Tremblett had a number of questions about the process and the potential ongoing cost to taxpayers, which were all answered in the meeting.
Councillor Jackie Compton Hobbs asked whether it would be possible to stipulate that the contractor use local employees and was told it violates the Public Procurement Act to specify that, but hopefully the contractor will use local employees as it would reduce overhead.
Construction on the centre will begin this spring and is expected to be open in January 2021.