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Nelson’s Hall Street Pier project over budget, will be scaled back

Cost increases are because of inflation and supply chain issues
Construction at Nelson’s Hall Street Pier viewed from the Prestige Lakeside Resort on Oct. 26, 2022. Photo: Bill Metcalfe

Nelson’s Hall Street Pier construction project has gone over budget and will be re-designed to cut costs.

At a Nelson City Council meeting on Oct. 25, public works director Colin Innes blamed most of the cost increases on inflation and on supply chain delays stemming from the pandemic.

He said having people on the job waiting for delivery of materials is expensive and requires a new kind of planning, especially with inflation adding to the unpredictability.

“I have never seen this kind of dynamic movement before,” he said. “It’s quite pronounced.”

Innes said another cost increase came from the discovery, once construction had started, that the new pilings had to be designed differently and sunk deeper than originally planned.

The original budget for the project was $2.6 million, then raised to 3.5 million last year, with $1 million covered by a grant from the province from its Community Economic Recovery Infrastructure Program (CERIP), along with $500,000 from the Columbia Basin Trust, and $2 million from city construction reserves.

But now the budget for the same project would be $4.4 million, Innes said. So the project will be scaled back to fit within a $3.5 million budget.

Innes gave this presentation to the 2018-22 council, not the newly elected one, which will be sworn in on Nov. 8.

Council took his presentation as information and made no decisions based on it. Innes’s presentation can be viewed at at 1:08:06.

The city proposed the Hall Street pier project in 2020 in an attempt to create shovel-ready capital projects to stimulate the economy during the pandemic, along with two other proposed projects that are still in the fundraising, planning and decision stages: a new library and changes to the Civic Centre.

The old pier was on its last legs, the city said. In addition to demolition and new pilings, the plan for the revamp previously included a new deck, a canopy on the north end, floating docks, seating, and a temperature controlled building to display the historic speedboat Ladybird, to be located near the approach to the pier.

“The designers came up with idea of shortening the pier and creating the swim area at the end, to bring the cost down, and with that redesign we were able to (bring it down to) $3.54 million,” said Innes. This leaves the city with the need to shave off another million from the budget.

The city is not considering scrapping the $426,000 Ladybird housing because it was one of the specified requirements of the $1-million CERIP grant.

But rethinking the project is expensive in itself. Even though the redesign is intended to save money, it also costs money to pay the designers, Innes said.

To reduce the cost further, the pier’s canopy is being redesigned and the resulting amount of the cost reduction is still unknown. Innes said the lighting design will also change, reducing the cost further.

If the costs cannot be contained within the original budget, Innes said, the city might have to abandon the canopy portion of the project entirely for this year and build it next year, with a new budget to be approved by council as part of next year’s budget, or with a new grant.

The Ladybird portion of the project is slated for completion by the end of January, with the remainder of the pier will be completed in the spring.


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Nelson council ponders displaying historic speedboat at Hall Street Pier

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Construction at Nelson’s Hall Street Pier viewed from the dog walk on Oct. 26, 2022. Photo: Bill Metcalfe

Bill Metcalfe

About the Author: Bill Metcalfe

I have lived in Nelson since 1994 and worked as a reporter at the Nelson Star since 2015.
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