RDN seeks a builder for Meadowood Recreation Centre

Directors voted to issue a design/build tender for a prefabricated metal building in the amount of $450,000

A plan for the Meadowood Community Recreation Centre took a step forward Tuesday night, after sitting in a holding pattern for months because the cost of the original plan turned out to be “spectacularly” high.

At Tuesday night’s committee of the whole Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN) meeting, directors voted to issue a design/build tender for a prefabricated metal building in the amount of $450,000.

The building will be situated in the Meadowood Community Park southeast of Dashwood Fire Hall #62 (Meadowood Fire Hall).

“A lot of work has gone into this,” said director Julian Fell who represents Meadowood, encouraging directors to vote in favour of the motion, which they did. The vote will be ratified at the next regular RDN meeting slated for Jan. 26.

“We have a very active community group that’s been involved in determining the best design, they’ve discussed the timeline and budget… and this seems to be the best option.”

Last January, the board approved the purchase of portable classrooms from School District 69 to repurpose them into a community recreation centre. However, the lowest tender to repurpose the portables came in at $466,717 while they only received $301,073 in funding for the project. Fell said the portables, which have since been moved into storage, will be a back-up plan.

“If the costs come in way high they will end up getting stuck with the B-grade portable option but I hope it doesn’t go that route,” he said, noting a prefabricated building will last much longer than portables. “On a cost per year basis it will be far more advantageous.”

Other news from the RDN’s committee of the whole meeting Tuesday night:

• The RDN’s animal control bylaw was corrected to include an omission in the impoundment fee schedule. Previously, the bylaw provided an impoundment fee for “unlicensed dangerous dogs at large” but not for “licensed dangerous dogs.” The board voted to include a fee of $500 for the impoundment of licensed dangerous dogs at large.

• Board members voted to have staff prepare a report outlining the options and costs to upgrade or rebuild the Little Qualicum Hall.

• The board voted to give Nanaimo and Area Land Trust (NALT) $30,000 in grant funding after a request for core funding assistance from NALT treasurer Fraser Wilson.

• Lynn deVries from the Back Country Horsemen of B.C. made a plea to board members asking for a “strong working relationship” with the RDN Parks and Recreation staff. One of the many goals of the organization is to dedicate trail systems within the Little Mountain region.

• The first “directors’ roundtable” was hosted at the request of recently elected chair Bill Veenhof, where directors were given five minutes to informally express issues on their mind or share events going on in their lives. Veenhof said this was not a time to bring up motions but to casually express their thoughts. Many directors passed on the opportunity to speak, but some were pleased with the idea. Nanaimo Coun. Jerry Hong said he’s been getting a lot of complaints about the price of gas and would like to address the issue soon. Parksville Mayor Marc Lefebvre said the provincial government downloading DNA lab testing costs to the municipal government cost the city $5,000.