AME Consulting will oversee consulting services for the energy portion of the work at Strathcona Gardens. Mirror File photo

Strathcona Regional District picks consulting firm for energy recovery work

The energy improvements are part of larger Strathcona Gardens REC-REATE project

The Strathcona Regional District is taking the next step on a project to improve energy efficiency at Strathcona Gardens.

The board recently awarded the contract to the AME Consulting Group to provide “prime consulting services” for the energy recovery portion of the SRD’s REC-REATE project – a major overhaul of the community’s main recreation facility. The SRD received a grant worth $4.6 million for this part of REC-REATE. This funding will cover work to install an energy recovery system, high efficiency air handlers, ice melting pits and photo-voltaic solar system.

RELATED STORY: Energy upgrades to move ahead at Campbell River recreation complex

RELATED STORY: Strathcona Regional District awards contract for new arena ice system

AME Consulting is based in Victoria, Vancouver and Calgary. In correspondence with the SRD, it notes its principals have experience with more than 100 recreation centres using all types of energy recovery systems. These can be found across B.C., as well as in Alberta and Saskatchewan, even Iqaluit.

The firm’s letter to the SRD refers to the energy recovery project being broken down into the three stages of design, construction and implementation, which its Integrated Design Process will cover.

“Our Integrated Design Process (IDP) includes early, active and continued collaboration, and helps the design team build momentum for the project by starting the communication process among the entire project team,” the letter states.

At the SRD meeting, Area D Director Brenda Leigh said she had read through the agreement and had questions about capping the amount.

“There’s no indication in the contract or anywhere in the document that I can find that would cap the amount we would pay,” she said. “It seems kind of open-ended.”

She asked whether they should consider setting a cap equal to the $4.6 million of the grant.

“We don’t have a clear idea of what the total costs might be,” she said, adding she did not want to face large project overruns.

Victoria Smith, SRD manager of strategic initiatives, said there is a lump sum cited in the report, which his breaks down the costs of the work to $224,175. She added that staff have project managers monitoring costs throughout the project.

Smith also clarified this contract only covers the consulting aspect of the project.

“This is only one part,” she said. “There are a number of contracts that make up the overall energy recovery project.”

At the end of the discussion, the board passed motions to approve the contract with AME Consulting Group for the design, construction and implementation of the energy recovery project at the Strathcona Gardens, and for the board chair and corporate officer to be authorized to execute the contract on behalf of the SRD.

RELATED STORY: SRD board gets look at recreated Strathcona Gardens

Last November, the regional district got a look at plans from HCMA Architecture + Design for the REC-REATE project, which include designs for a new pool and a new fitness and wellness centre, along with improvements and upgrades to the ice facilities, improved parking and drop-off and other amenities.

Part of the plan is to refurbish the Rod Brind’Amour Arena, including the addition of seating for 2,000 along with a standing room area to accommodate another 600 to 800 people.

As part of this process, the SRD received a grant from the Union of B.C. Municipalities (UBCM) Strategic Priorities Fund worth $4,605,939 to pay for upgrades to make Strathcona Gardens more energy-efficient.

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