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October 27, 2017 6:45 pm

Park Pavilion Price Tag Tops $775 Grand

Sunday, February 26, 2017 @ 6:58 AM

Artist’s rendering of Lheidli T’enneh Memorial Park Pavilion. Courtesy City of Prince George

Prince George, B.C. – The new pavilion project in the picnic area at Lheidli T’enneh Memorial Park will have a total price tag topping three-quarters-of-a-million dollars.

Funding  for the project is as follows:  $377,000 from the federal Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Program and a matching $377,000 from the City of Prince George adding up to $754,000 for the pavilion.  On top of that is $25,000 from the province for a monument which is being incorporated into the pavilion.  Total price tag, $779,000.

Mayor Lyn Hall says there were a number of reasons the pavilion project was selected by the City.  “We wanted to replace the (original, removed) shelter.  We heard loud and clear and so when we had our staff meet with the Lheidli representatives it was decided that if we created a pavilion-style shelter, like the   drawing shows, that that would take care of what was there before plus a considerable amount of add-ons.”

“So that’s how it was decided.  It was always in the plan to build that shelter and we wanted to make sure that we had Lheidli at the table and that this was a partnership and both were o.k. with the design and o.k. with the concept.”

When suggested that three-quarters of a million dollars might seem a hefty price tag for a shelter for picnic tables Mayor Hall noted that “there’s a bit more to it but I wasn’t at the table when the discussions were taking place around the engineering piece or the architectural piece.”

“My thought on it is, first of all there’s ground work that has to be done and so it’s not just building that structure.  There’s also work that’s going to be done around the history and the cultural aspects of the Lheidli T’enneh as well, so that’s all part of it.”  He adds the full design will outline what the entire project is going to be comprised of.

Mayor Hall was asked whether there was any public discussion about advancing this particular project over some others that might be under consideration in the city.  “Well,” he says “we’ve been pretty lucky with Canada 150 grants so far and this was part of the Canada 150 application and it was a project that was identified to be completed, so I’m not sure what you mean by public consultation.”

“The public has given us a tremendous amount of ideas, and of course one of the ones which we’ve just completed, which was the Coldsnap event, that one had Canada 150 money to it along with a number of other groups that received Canada 150 grant dollars.  So this was identified as one of the projects that we wanted to get funding for through 150 and it was the Lheidli and our staff that developed that kind of concept.”

Hall says he’ll have to check to see whether there is any other Canada 150 funding available to Prince George.  He says “we partnered as well with the Prince George Community Foundation, which is in partnership with the Canada-wide Community Foundations, to have a little better leverage around Canada 150 dollars so there’s still that piece in place.  But I haven’t heard where that funding is.  That would be something that I’d have to ask the Community Foundation folks about.”

“I’m expecting there’s more Canada 150 dollars coming, but I just don’t know what they would be earmarked for and, as I said, the foundation would be one of the ones that would probably be in line for that.”

The mayor says “it’ll be interesting, when all of the 150 dollars are in, what the contribution was in Canada 150 grants to Prince George.  I think it’s going to be considerable.”

As far as a timeline for construction of the pavilion goes Mayor Hall says he hasn’t been given a firm date for completion but does know that preparatory work will begin as soon as the weather permits.*




At least there was some consultation regards the idiotic bike lanes, but none on this puppy. The Lheidli T’enneh have no title or financial interest in this property so why their input? How about naming it the ‘Simon Fraser Pavilion’ to add some actual historical flavor to the project.

The fur trading post of Fort George, was established here in 1807 by Simon Fraser, working for the North West Co. if some didn’t know this.

    I agree that would be an oppropriate name if we are naming picnic table shelters now.

    My question exactly, the natives give their input yet there will be no finances, tradespeople coming from this outfit! It should be named after the city and ALL the people, not just a select few! Reverse discrimination here….. Playing devil’s advocate because there is some truth to this.

We should let the kids go down there on pour day and put there handprints in. A border all the way around the slab would be cool

A lot of these projects have no reason for their existence except they allow the City to apply for or receive funding from another level of Government. Usually this funding requires that the City provide 50%. In any event $779,000.00 for this particular project is totally out of line.

Anyone looking at the artists rendering of this project and the cost attached could only come to the conclusion.

**You’ve got to be kidding**

Unfortunately they are not kidding. Spending tax money on less than stellar projects is not a problem for this City or other Municipalities. There is very little if any concern as to where the money comes from or who pays for it.

Its all about spending the money, and politics.

Lets spend some time and effort to reduce costs at City Hall and reduce taxes. That would be a project that taxpayers could get behind, and really support.

There are extra monies tied to this project than actually mentioned above. There is city hall time to put it together, there is council time to put it together, there are architectural fees and probably a myriad of other hidden costs just to bring this to the table.

Then once it goes out to tender, contractors already knowing what the budget is – will they get as close to the end figure as they can? Or will they find that actual costs are 25-50% more than the city budgeted once tenders come in and the project will need to be reworked? Really don’t want to be cynical but just can’t bring myself to trust these guys, as with the library entrance which has probably sucked half a million dollars out of city coffers already and is still only a paper drawing.

Can not tell from the picture but should it not be made out of wood? What is the drawing suppose to represent, does not seem to fit the heritage of the park. Yep sure seems to be a lot of money for what is pictured. How about a breakdown of costs.

Contractor’s suggestion for a name seems fitting. Hope that is not racist?

    From a better picture that I have seen, it looks like the frame is to be metal and the rest wood.

This whole scenario stinks. I saw no reason why the old shelter had to be torn down. It was nothing more than make work project by the city. Now it will cost city tax payers a half million dollars. If it was torn down because someone at city hall didn’t like the design or had an agenda for a future renamed shelter then it’s just rediculous waste.

If the shelter had to be replaced it should have been done when the old one was torn down and done with a local wood based flavour like the old design was. IMO the city workers could have replaced the old shelter for under $75,000. The rest is just incompetence and waste.

If that drawing is to be believed, the City is cutting back on grass cutting at the park. :)

    I was wondering about the hayfield too…

As they say – Someone must of added a “0” by mistake,
in this case a “7”.
I can see it costing 79,000 NOT 779,000
As stated — you can get a very nice house with walls and land for this price.
Cost List needed. Labour Cost needed.
How much Money from all groups involved.
I’d like a memorandum on this please.

Unless the supporting beams are made of titanium, and the roof boards are made of teak, there is no way in H that this structure could cost 3/4 of a million dollars. So that means that the majority of the money will go to design, engineering, architects, and contractors, with a few bucks thrown in for material.

I agree with Seamutt and others. We need a breakdown of the costs for this facility, before it goes any further.

We have some nice buildings at Wilson Park, Harold Mann Park, as Eagle Lake, and one at Bear Lake. Some variation of these buildings, made out of wood, would be more than sufficient for this park.

Time for Council and City staff to wake up and smell the roses. Wasting tax dollars has become a way of life at City Hall and has to stop. We have far more serious issue’s like infrastructure, excessive taxes, etc;,

How can the City cry that they are broke and need to increase our taxes, and then immediately say the will spend $2.75 million on an entrance to the library, for a building that is 36 years old, and $780,000.00 on this dubious pavilion.

    I couldn’t agree more. I remember the scene in “Independence Day” where Judd Hirsch is talking to the president and says “You don’t actually believe they spend $20,000 on a hammer, $30,000 on a toilet seat, do you”. That sums up government spending, and the contractors who are charging this are no better. Like others have stated, if you were to spend that much on construction alone of a house (especially since there is no land to purchase in this price) you would have a fully furnished mansion. As it stands, we’re getting a few load bearing poles and a roof.

    Palopu, you mention teak? More like brazilian walnut…

    Palopu, I fully agree. This is an unnecessary waste of our tax dollars. It doesn’t matter which govt entity is pitching in the money… it is still coming out of the same pockets.
    As was said in the previous article regarding this:
    -Yes the park needs a new picnic shelter, but (in respect to our local heritage/resources and skilled trades) it should be designed, built and supplied locally and at a reasonable cost. I am certain that the local PG skillset can do all of this out of wood and concrete, local native carvers could make an amazing tribute sculpture (which could reflect both Native and non-native local history) and it would be a much more fitting addition to the Park then what has been proposed. I think the Chief and the City should sit down and contemplate this alternative. If they insist on spending 3/4 $Million… they could spend the remaining on other park upgrades.
    The current proposal is just wasteful spending…. Mr. Mayor…Councillors …Chief…are you hearing us??

I can’t believe this project will cost that much money. The first thing that should happen is that the price tag is put to a review. I think the City owes it to their taxpayers to show them exactly how the cost got to be this high.

As someone above said, you can build an amazing house, loaded with features, for this price in PG. Why does one shelter cost this much?

I look at the design and all I see is a big Hang glider on stilts .

Has anyone looked into what will happen when the wind hits that thing .

    That is what is included in the 775,000 dollar cost.

    Or snow? I’m disappointed the Lheidli Tenneh didn’t contribute some money to this project. They agreed to the name change of the Park, therefore I feel with that ownership, some finacial involvement is needed by them. Why didn’t you folks step up- the Chief sure took advantage of the photo op!

      “or snow”

      That is also included in the 775,000 dollar cost.

where is BH! With all the child poverty in BC how could the BC liberals waste money on this? Oh shoot it’s the other governments, so it’s okay.

Doesn’t the city say it will only cost 4 million for a swimming pool?

    Where did you get that figure from? The replacement cost of a new pool is estimated at 34,000,000 dollars, not 4,000,000.

This city hall is out of hand. Do we not have engineering students in the WIC building that is for upcoming engineers?

Has the city not mentioned more than a few times they would like more wood used in structures? Has the province also not said this or did I hear wrong?

Here is a novel idea. Why not put a contest out to the schools? Does CNC not have a program and the WIC? Why has the city not involved getting more locals groups/programs from PG or the north?

Why was the architect Bruce Carscadden hired out of Vancouver? Were there any other bids? If so what?

I agree with a couple of some of the other posters. I know the money still comes from taxpayers one way or another. If the band is always involved than they should have had to pay for something. All the money is still coming from one source – the taxpayer. I feel the band should have put something in even if it was a damn dollar for good will.

    Designs, drawings and calculations have to be verified and stamped by a certified P.Eng. Engineering students could not sign off on any of the work that they do. They could not stamp the documents. All of that would have to be done by a working P.Eng, so any “cost savings” in having students do the work would be nullified.

    The only advantage of having Engineering students involved would be to give them some real world design experience.

      Dont we have any Engineers at City Hall that could sign off on this project.??

      Point of it is Hahaha is that they did not have to hire the Vancouver firm at that price. The person/s teaching the program you would think would be certified.

      There are local firms and some people at city hall that can certify and stamp the documents.

      I am coming from the point of trying to keep it local and use the knowledge we have here.

      We could get a better design and cheaper costs probably in the long run.

      I would rather see some local input than someone from the lower mainland that knows sweet diddly squat of PG

      I’m sure the project was an open bid process. The Lotus Land firm probably came in with the low bid. That is why they got the job.

The City is caught between a rock and a hard place. The Feds offer money and the City is practically forced into taking it or lose the cash.
Yup, it all comes from Joe and Jane taxpayer, but if yhe City tefused the money there would be no news story and if there were, it would probably be framed in such a way to make the City look incompetent for not taking the ‘free’ money.

If we (Taxpayers) are going to spend 3/4 of a million dollars on a picnic shelter, will the true story be told about the area? That land (previously known as Fort George Park) was legally purchased off the Lheidle T’enneh band. The band agreed to sell the land. The area also had a trading post. Years ago there was replica built which also contained a museum, until it burnt down and the current museum was built. Remnants of the recreated structure are still there. I believe the City has an opportunity to redeem itself by correcting the errors when they arbitrarily changed the Park’s name in 2015 from Fort George Park to Lheidle T’enneh Memorial Park. I grew up by that park starting in the late 50’s, I think at one time it was called Simon Fraser Park, so Mayor and Council, this could be your time to really set this right. Will you do so to honour not only our first nation friends but the pioneers who helped carve our present City?

Looks like bat wings. But hey our civic symbol is a tree trunk man made out of metal lol.

    You can laugh all you want, but the Mr. PG mascot recognized both Nationally and Internationally. It was one of the few mascots selected for the roadside attractions series of Canada Post stamps.

      Knowing that makes it even funnier! Hahaha!

775 grand does seem overboard for what amounts to a roof though.

This kind of utter waste of tax payer money is in line with sky high gas prices that everyone complains about for a week and then says ok …. or $40 million for a new police station , seriously ? , you have to wonder when this will stop

I too am disappointed with the costs of this new shelter. As for the appearance, frankly, I think the old wooden shelter provided a lot more protection from the weather. We need more washrooms in the park, plus another water fountain. And, this is Prince George; I’d like to see some wooden accents, carvings, whatever on the new structure. It’s all very well to say that this is grant money, but any way you look at it, it’s still taxpayers money, and $700 grand seems like a ridiculous amount of money to build it!

    “the old wooden shelter provided a lot more protection from the weather”

    You are totally correct. When it rains, especially during a short downpour it is typically accompanied by an increase in wind speed, which more often than not comes from the west. That is where the peak is providing the highest exposure to rain.

    On top of that, that is the place where the “monument” is which houses the utilities and likely grill area, if they have one. It needs tro be on the other side which will be the best protected area.

    There is a very practical reason why the old shelters have low eaves.

    It would be easy to design a modern structure which provides as much protection from rain as the traditional picnic shelter provide.

    People want students to design this. The normal pecking order in architectural offices is the new grads are the designers while the ones with increasing experience are the ones who vet the ideas for cost, constructability, and proper function.

    Somehow that step was missed in allowing this design out of the office.

    More than that, that functional assessment was not provided by the client, the City. It is not the first time that has happened. The last major one was allowing the monstrosity of the new police station to be built without a better functional review, cost review and assessment for extravagant spending.

    The City needs some people in administration who cann assess such projects properly on out behalf.

    Where is the design panel on this. There should have been some comments from them on the functionality of this “shelter”. However, I realize they have no authority to provide real advice which will be acted on.

    This is my financial review

    We will be receiving $377,000 from the Feds. How much of that money actually comes from the pockets of tax payers in the city? Difficult to calculate since there are various taxes locals pay that flow to the feds, including corporate, sales and income tax. A simple way to look at it is that the rest of Canada generates similar taxes which flow to the feds. I will approximate it simply based on city and federal population.

    2016 census = 35,151,728 canadian population
    2016 census = 74,003 city population
    That is 0.21% of the federal population.

    Thus the part that the PG population and businesses pay in taxes to the feds towards the contribution works out to approximately $800 total.

    Add that to the City’s contribution and this structure will cost the local taxpayers about $377,800, which is under the $400,000 budgeted at one time.

    Please give thanks to Ontario, Quebec, Maritime provinces and Prairie provinces as well as the rest of BC. ;-)

    Of course, we also support other similar projects in other parts of Canada which get Federal funding. Thus we are paying for projects in Fort St. John, Quesnel, Fredericton, etc. that we never get a chance to complain about because no one is monitoring these. :-)

    The question those who are anal about such things might want to ask one day might be how we are doing with picking up such money from the rest of the Canadian tax payers.

    The more the City pursues such funding, the better off we are in that equation.

    Kudos to the City for that strategy!

    My Overall impression

    It is nice to see an alternate approach to the design of a park shelter rather than the traditional one seen in the Prince George area and the BC and Western Canada region if not all of Canada and even the USA – simple, functional and “woodsy” in natural, park settings.

    However, given that, a modern structure still has to provide the same function that the traditional park shelter have been doing relatively well. Much better than this proposal will provide!

    To remind those what the traditional ones look like, including the one which stood where the new one will be built.

    Some of the “traditional examples”

    Wilkins Park Shelter = rdffg.bc.ca/uploads/images/Gallery/wilkins/Wilkins-3.jpg

    Fort George Park (the name when the old shelter stood there) = ehcanadatravel.com/gallery/_data/i/upload/2011/12/24/20111224131456-66b95e06-sm.jpg

    Yellowhead Park = res.cloudinary.com/simpleview/image/upload/crm/bclca/Picnic-Shelter_12abe2f9-5056-a36a-0a1679dab4eabe46.jpg

    Quote from Mayor Hall: “I’m not sure what you mean by public consultation.”

    That is an unbelievable quote from a Mayor who brought “public consultation” back to the vocabulary of City Hall.

    The City has an Advisory Committee on Development Design whose terms of reference include the following: Council, the Director of Planning & Development, and the Manager of Current Planning & Development may refer matters respecting the City’s physical environment to the Committee.

    While that may have been done, I see no evidence of that. If it had been, I am sure Mayor Hall would have mentioned that. I am also relatively sure that at least one member of the committee would have brought up a concern about the functionality of the design as far as protection from the elements is concerned.

    Most people who have ever sat in a shelter during an unexpected summer downpour would be able to provide an opinion of what is required to provide maximum protection.

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