Cache Bay rink goes back to tender after double-budget bid


Residents hope to keep two rinks but may have to compromise

Christian Gammon-Roy


Cache Bay community members were likely very surprised on Tuesday, August 15th, when the quote to rebuild their outdoor skating rink came in well over double the allotted budget. The town had set aside around $137,000 for the Cache Bay rink, but they were quoted roughly $315,000 for the job, leading some to speculate that they may scale back the project or halt it altogether. In fact, the project has been put off as the town goes back to tender, but that may turn out to be an advantage as they look to keep the double-rink facility instead of reducing to a single rink as originally planned.

Roch St-Louis, councillor for Ward 2, explains that the tender they had sent out was only for a single rink, and that he was approached only after it had gone out. Community members asked that they look into rebuilding a double rink, as they currently have in the community. “I did ask [Community Services director Stephan] Poulin that when we put out the tender again, we get a price for both a regular-sized rink like every other municipality has, and for a double rink like we have here now,” says St-Louis, adding that delaying the project might be lucky if they get a more reasonable quote.

St-Louis notes that only one bid was received, likely because of poor timing. “Personally, I hope that it gets done next summer. The staff will put it out to tender, hopefully not as late as they did last year, which was understandable because the budget wasn’t done until almost in March. We’re hoping to get the budget done around November or December this year. When we do that, I’m going to ask for additional money for the outdoor rink. If we know that we had put $140,000 aside this year to build an outdoor rink, and the bids are coming in at $300,000, let’s put $240,000 aside or $250,000 aside. That’s something that we’ll discuss. My intent, and the intent of the municipality and the staff is to have an outdoor rink next summer built here in Cache Bay.” St-Louis hopes that the tender going out earlier will result in more contractors bidding this time – and a more reasonable cost.

The community of Cache Bay is also responding, trying to cut costs on the project by doing some of the work. Diane Baronette, a community member who helped raise funds for Cache Bay’s cenotaph recently, was asked to find ways that the residents could help. It was suggested that demolition of the current rink could be undertaken by volunteers to save money on contracting costs. Baronette is also looking into other funding avenues, much like she did with the cenotaph, and she is hoping to have a committee in place by mid-September to help with this project. She is also adamant on the community requiring a double rink. “The rink is a priority for me to ensure it gets done. It is an important part of activities in our community, used by our residents as well as residents across West Nipissing. Our rink cannot be compared or labelled like other communities because it is unique (…) and has been this way for years, and needs to go back to two separate areas,” she insists.

Councillor St-Louis is hopeful that a double rink won’t cost significantly more than a standard single rink, since the rinks are a bit smaller. However, if that isn’t the case, he admits that they may have to compromise in order to make the project happen for the summer. “At the end of the day, if we want to build a rink in Cache Bay and they come back and let’s say a single rink they quote us at $250,000, and a double they quote us at $300,000, well we’re going to end up with a single rink,” he sums up.

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