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Mile One air-unit upgrade cost jumps 69 per cent to $5.9 million


St. John’s city council Monday approved the $5.9-million replacement of air-handling units at Mile One Centre — a 69 per cent increase to the estimated cost since September.

The four rooftop units are no longer reliable, Coun. Danny Breen, chairman of the city’s finance and administration committee, said at city council on Monday night.

“Since 2010, there’s been about $167,000 spent on the repair of these units,” said Breen. “They’ve exceeded their anticipated life service, and a further breakdown in those units could cause serious consequences for the operations of Mile One Centre.”

The cost to replace the units, which regulate the temperature at Mile One, was estimated at $3.5 million in September, said Breen, but several factors have raised the price tag:

• The replacement units are heavier than the current ones, requiring extra reinforcement for Mile One’s roof;

• A fourth dehumidification unit will be added as backup;

• Several rooftop exhaust fans need to be replaced;

• The system will be upgraded from using ethylene glycol to propylene glycol;

• A five per cent contingency fund will be added.

One option would have been for the city to finance the entire amount, said Breen, which would exhaust the total capital budget for Mile One, leaving nothing for other needs.

Instead, council approved the staff recommendation of transferring $2.95 million of gas tax moneys currently being set aside for the new west end recreation centre, allowing for matching funding from the federal government.

“It’s not expected that that money will be used this year,” said Breen. “It won’t delay the project of the new west-end recreation centre. We’re now in the process of identifying the site for that. There’s a certain amount of playing that has to go into place before that money has to be expended.”

Councillors unanimously approved the financing.

 

Note: An previous version of this story said the matching funds would come from the provincial government. The funding will in fact come from the federal government, administered by the province.

The four rooftop units are no longer reliable, Coun. Danny Breen, chairman of the city’s finance and administration committee, said at city council on Monday night.

“Since 2010, there’s been about $167,000 spent on the repair of these units,” said Breen. “They’ve exceeded their anticipated life service, and a further breakdown in those units could cause serious consequences for the operations of Mile One Centre.”

The cost to replace the units, which regulate the temperature at Mile One, was estimated at $3.5 million in September, said Breen, but several factors have raised the price tag:

• The replacement units are heavier than the current ones, requiring extra reinforcement for Mile One’s roof;

• A fourth dehumidification unit will be added as backup;

• Several rooftop exhaust fans need to be replaced;

• The system will be upgraded from using ethylene glycol to propylene glycol;

• A five per cent contingency fund will be added.

One option would have been for the city to finance the entire amount, said Breen, which would exhaust the total capital budget for Mile One, leaving nothing for other needs.

Instead, council approved the staff recommendation of transferring $2.95 million of gas tax moneys currently being set aside for the new west end recreation centre, allowing for matching funding from the federal government.

“It’s not expected that that money will be used this year,” said Breen. “It won’t delay the project of the new west-end recreation centre. We’re now in the process of identifying the site for that. There’s a certain amount of playing that has to go into place before that money has to be expended.”

Councillors unanimously approved the financing.

 

Note: An previous version of this story said the matching funds would come from the provincial government. The funding will in fact come from the federal government, administered by the province.

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