Saturday, August 14, 2010

Cost of sky-high hockey rinks could soar

The view from a proposed “icescraper” hockey rink in the sky for the Lower Donlands would be spectacular but so would the price tag — the innovative design is likely to cost 10% over and above the current $88-million estimate.
“Items such as owner-approved design/site changes, cost escalations due to inflation, site servicing and required improvements to Commissioners St. and the Don Roadway, should be taken into account,” a city staff report on the proposed development says.
“These items could potentially increase the total budget by in the order of 10%.”
The city only has $34 million set aside for the project, says the report, which will go to executive committee on Monday.
The city had originally planned to build a ground-level “snowflake”, four-pad complex with nearly 400 surface parking spots at the site, in the heart of the $1.5 billion Lower Donlands waterfront development project.
But designers and architects involved with the project revolted, arguing such a building was inconsistent with the mixed-use, transit-friendly neighbourhood they were hoping to build.
With even that cheaper design estimated to cost $71.5 million, twice what was budgeted for the desperately needed recreation facility, the city went back to the drawing board and returned with the stacked design, which would put rinks one on top of each other in a glass-enclosed, eight-storey building.
Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong said he wonders if the Lower Donlands site is the right spot for the complex at all, especially given the fact funding for so many projects on the waterfront has yet to be firmed up.
“There’s between $300- and $400-million for tearing down the Gardiner, there’s $600 million for (reconstructing) the mouth of the Don, and there’s close to $100 million for this,” he said. adding these costs are in addition to the $1.5 billion already committed to the Lower Donlands.

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