/Museum expansion price tag higher than expected 

Museum expansion price tag higher than expected 

An expansion of the Dorset Heritage Museum will cost significantly more than anticipated and Algonquin Highlands councillors are in the process of deciding how the township might go about making up that shortfall.

During a Jan. 16 council meeting township parks rec and trail manager Chris Card informed council there is a shortfall of nearly $75000 on the project whåich will include the construction of a 960-square-foot addition to the museum. Last year the township was successful in obtaining a $150000 capital grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation toward the project and the plan was that the rest of the money would be fundraised. It was anticipated the total price tag would be $270000.

However the two bids the township received were for $393500 and $483000 respectively. A report from Card showed that were council to accept the lower bid along with engineering project oversight and contingency costs the total estimated cost for the project is now just more than $525000.

With the $150000 grant a $32000 transfer from general reserves a $185000 transfer from the the special projects reserve $35000 from the anticipated 2019 surplus and $50000 in anticipated donations through a fundraising group for the museum there would still be a shortfall of more than $73300.

A condition of the OTF grant is that the project must be completed by September.

“Obviously we need to have a discussion about where the money is going to come from” said Deputy Mayor Liz Danielsen.

“I think we need to have a very serious conversation about tenders for projects on municipal property and who has the authority to manage them” said Algonquin Highlands Mayor Carol Moffatt. Bracebridge-based Granite Engineering Services had completed the initial drawings for the project and Card told councillors the museum committee had also used Granite to draw up the tender.

Moffatt didn’t want the additional unanticipated expense added to the tax levy.

“I can’t see adding it to the levy” she said suggesting that the township might supply the money from its working funds and that the museum committee would have to fundraise until that money is paid back to the municipality.

Councillor Jennifer Dailloux asked Card what would  happen if the project was not completed by the Ontario Trillium Foundation’s September deadline and Card said in that case it’s a possibility that the funding organization would request the money back.

“If we approve this today we’re approving an unknown” said Moffatt suggesting the issue be deferred until the next council meeting so discussions between the township and the museum group can take place.