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Sicamous seeks savings as cost of Shuswap Healing Centre rises

8 residents spoke in opposition of the $10 million project
Sicamous council approved a contract for construction of the Shuswap Healing Centre, the overall cost of which is now estimated to be around $10 million. (DOS photo)

The district continues to face opposition to the Shuswap Healing Centre despite trimming costs for the project that is now estimated to cost around $10 million.

At the Nov. 22 Sicamous finance committee meeting, chief administrative officer Kelly Bennett explained how she and and chief financial officer Bianca Colonna went through the quote for exterior work line by line and identified areas where they could trim costs for the project which, as of May 2023, was estimated to cost $8.06 million – $6 million of which was being funded by grant money.

“So good news, from the original quote on Oct. 24, it was $6.49 (million), but we’ve now got a revised one to $6.3,” Bennett reported.

“So it’s down $170,000.”

With pre-construction and other costs, however, that still carries a new price tag of approximately $10 million.

Resident Steve Seelinger called the price tag “out of control for a town of 3,000.”

He suggested renovating the existing medical building, saying would be much cheaper. Resident Mary Laurila agreed.

“I truly believe this is the wrong approach,” she told council. “We don’t need to be fancy-dancy.”

While the majority of council wanted to see the project continue moving forward after having come this far, Coun. Ian Baillie sided with the residents opposed to it.

“There’s a large amount of opinions in the community about this. That’s why I won’t support this project,” he explained. “I don’t believe we need a $10 million health-care centre a this time.”

He added that they’ve seen the price go from $6 million to the current $10 million, and pointed out that it could very likely increase again, given the chosen location.

“We also need to consider the site issues. Council is fully aware of the potential problems that are on this site in terms of archaeological issues,” he continued. “That is a major risk for this town… we could easily go over budget on this.”

Others on council, however, argued that this is needed in order to attract and retain doctors, and will also become a draw for new residents as local healthcare is a major selling point for people looking to relocate.

“I can say that, we’ve really put a ton of time into this, and we’ve done our best to do our homework,” Coun. Bob Evans said. “So I really feel good about this project… and I really believe this is a great vision and I know this is going to be good for our town.”

When put to the vote, council authorized the fixed price contract with Scott Builders, with just Baillie opposed.

Read more: Shuswap Healing Centre taking shape with expected start in November

Read more: Shuswap Healing Centre taking shape with expected start in November

About the Author: Heather Black

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