By Kevin J Sabo
For the Advance
The arena renovation project was again brought before Castor council during their March 11 meeting.
CAO Christopher Robblee brought the change order history on the project and looked into reasons why not all of the change orders were not brought to council as they occurred. The answers he found came down to there being no clear chain of responsibility, with some of the contractors working for and reporting to the recreation board, despite the building being owned by the municipality.
“Though council might see the change orders, it would be the rec board that okay’d the work in some instances,” said Robblee in an email. “In others it was council, and in others it was administration.
Further making the process less clear is the CAO bylaw, which allows the CAO to approve budget changes of individual projects up to a maximum of $10,000 without having to bring the change back to council unless it significantly changes the scope of the project.
In total, nine change orders around the arena project were presented to council, ranging from $450 to $6,000 in additional expense. Of the nine: one, six, and eight had been presented to council previously.
The nine change orders reflect around a $21,000 price increase on the nearly $1 million project.
“For me it is tough to get to the bottom of the approval process, as it seems to have landed with all three parties – depending on the circumstances,” said Robblee. “Hindsight is always 20/20 though, so everyone, I think, did the best they could with the information at hand.”
Also involving the arena, Mary Ellen White has submitted a proposal to council which would allow her the ability to re-open Ben & Simons Pie Shoppe as a lunch service five days a week out of the arena concession area from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
White is a member of the group that was awarded the contract to operate the concession this winter from when the arena opened last December until the end of March. In her proposal to council, White detailed that her and her staff would clean the common areas of the arena and offered $500 a month for rent on a year lease.
In return, she requested that the town would arrange all inspections and maintenance of equipment, which they would discuss sharing the cost of as it occurred.
“I’m hesitant on leasing this,” said Coun. Lonny Nelner. ” This is not a place to run a restaurant.” Nelner was not alone in his concerns, with Coun. Brenda Wismer agreeing with him.
Ultimately, council directed CAO Robblee to draft a lease agreement which would protect the Town in case of incident, and which would also require that the leaseholder have enough private business insurance over and above the insurance that the town already carries on the building.