The regional district has chosen a design firm as part of its overhaul of Strathcona Gardens. File photo

Regional district takes next step on recreation centre redevelopment

Board awards design contract to HCMA Architecture and Design

The Strathcona Regional District board has taken its next step toward recreating the local recreation centre at Strathcona Gardens

At its June 20 meeting, the board unanimously chose to award the contract for design work for the REC-RECREATE project to HCMA Architecture and Design, a Vancouver-based firm that specializes in community recreation facilities.

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The firm was chosen through a competitive bidding process. There were four submissions received this spring, three of which were compliant.

“All of the proposals received had merit and different areas of strength, but the HCMA submission provided the best value and demonstrated a comprehensive understanding of the project scope, linkages and schedule,” SRD board chair and Strathcona Gardens Commission Chair Michele Babchuk said in a news release. “We are pleased to work with HCMA again granted the high-quality work they provide, as well as their commitment to meeting community needs through ongoing engagement and consultation. We will also benefit from the firm’s deep understanding of the project.”

The contract is for $346,567 and fully funded through accumulated reserves for the redevelopment project. The plan includes a new aquatic centre and wellness area, more seating and improvements to the facilities in arena one and the relocation of the fitness centre to the facility’s main floor.

The SRD news release also points HCMA’s proposal showed an understanding of how to incorporate the recent $4.6 million in funding awarded by the federal and provincial government for the Energy Recovery Project into the project design, which could provide further REC-REATE cost offsets.

During the SRD board meeting, Strategic Initiatives Manager Victoria Smith gave a short presentation on the project, saying the design work is supposed to be complete by November.

“It will position the project really well for future grant opportunities,” she said. “The timing works well.”

For example, the SRD received notice the intake period for federal grant funding could come at the end of 2018. Staff will be meeting with HCMA soon to set out the next steps toward completing the design work.

Campbell River Mayor Andy Adams, who sits on the SRD board, made the motion to award the contract. He cited HCMA’s experience in projects for communities in the province and beyond, referring them as “leaders in Western Canada.”

“It certainly is good news that they are the recommended choice,” he said.

Area D Director Brenda Leigh also pointed out the bid from HCMA for the design contract came in well under the SRD’s estimated cost of $500,000.

From the gallery at the meeting, Cal Grunerud, the commission’s community representative, thanked staff and the SRD for their work on the redevelopment project, which he described as a longstanding issue.

“We’ve finally come to some fruition that the community is supporting and this board is supporting,” he said. “I look forward to seeing the schematic designs in the next few months.”