An Ontario firm has been hired by the City of Charlottetown to explore funding options for a new multi-use sports and entertainment complex.
Council recently voted 6-4 in favour of awarding the tender to Sierra Planning and Management at a cost of $105,000.
The firm has been tasked to conduct a comprehensive exploration, identification and evaluation of capital funding models.
Essentially, it’s on a mission to find out how much it would cost to build it and where the money will come from. This is the next step in the process that began in June when council voted to create a multi-use facility funding model task force.
Council usually chooses the low bid when it comes to tendering projects but not in this case. Sierra’s bid was actually the high one. MRSB
Consulting came in at $71,928 but withdrew its bid while Nustadia Recreation Inc. arrived at $86,900.
A board comprised of the infrastructure and asset management manager, the finance manager and the events development officer reviewed the bids and made the recommendation to council.
Coun. Alanna Jankov, chairwoman of the strategic priorities and intergovernmental co-operation committee, said the bids were graded on a point system by the board and it was felt that Sierra, when it came to the overall scope of the work, was the best fit.
“There was experience there with this . . . group,’’ Jankov said. “They have worked on other similar models across the country, so they’re coming with relationships they’ve built.’’
She said Sierra has expertise when it comes to finding not only appropriate funding models to build the thing but operational funding because someone is going to have to pay the cost of running the facility if it gets built.
In 2017, a task force recommended the development of a 5,000-seat multi-use facility capable of hosting major national events and concerts. It estimated the cost in the area of $74 to $81 million. Sierra’s job will be to find out exactly what the figure would be and what the best location for a complex would be. The city spent $75,000 to have that task force examine the feasibility of a new building.
The city has no intention of footing the entire bill. The goal is to have the province and feds on board as well. It’s a matter of finding out what programs would supply that money. Avenir Centre in Moncton, for example, was built with all three levels of government contributing.
Jankov said she anticipates it will take a good six months before Sierra reports back to council.
She stressed that if council decides to proceed after receiving the report, the process would involve a public meeting.