The new washroom building at Kinsmen Beach will be open year-round for lake and park users.

The new washroom building at Kinsmen Beach will be open year-round for lake and park users.

Kinsmen washrooms to cost DOI $200k more than expected

Original cost estimates for the building were around $350,000. But none of the dozen bids the district received were under $500,000.

Construction on a new washroom for Kinsmen Beach could be underway as soon as March 1 of 2012, but the new all-season building is now expected to cost about $200,000 more than the District of Invermere initially estimated.

District of Invermere council voted to award a construction contract of no more than  $553,900 to WHL Construction Ltd. at its December 13 meeting.

Original cost estimates for the building, which is to include change rooms, a concession, a patio and an equipment storage area, were around $350,000. But according to a report prepared for council by staff, none of the dozen quotes the district received for the work were under $500,000.

However, district CAO Chris Prosser told council WHL has already identified cost-saving measures that could knock about $26,000 off the price of the building. The district is also hoping to get a Columbia Basin Trust grant of around $200,000 to fund a portion of the construction. Other funding for the washrooms will come from Invermere’s resort development fund.

“It does seem like a lot of money,” said mayor Gerry Taft of the cost increase. “And it seems to be the reality of local governments — or governments of all sizes — that we always end up paying more.”

While the building is intended to be a clean energy showpiece for the district, Taft said he expects the number of green features incorporated will depend on whether the Columbia Basin Trust decides to pitch in on the project.

While the district has talked about using geothermal and solar power, rainwater capture and other energy-efficient technology, it hasn’t decided which systems exactly it will install at the site. District staff will negotiate those specifics with WHL in the coming months. If talks go smoothly, Prosser says the district hopes to have construction underway by March 1 — but any delay could require the entire project to be moved back to September or spring of 2013, to avoid leaving Canada Day crowds at the lakeside park with no facilities.