With the focus on COVID-19, a significant issue is not getting enough coverage.
In fact, it’s amazing how building the Minoru Centre for Active Living could drag on for so long without the city not being held to account.
This project was announced as “shovel ready” during the 2009 financial crisis in order to qualify for federal funding. The purpose of this funding was to get new projects underway as soon as possible to stimulate the economy.
I’m sure that some thought had been given to the need to replace the existing pool and seniors centre, but it became very obvious that it had not been formally planned and properly costed. Two public issues make this very clear.
After the project was started, a debate arose over the size of the pool. How could you plan and budget such a project if you didn’t know how large the pool is going to be?
Years after the project was underway, the city started to ask what seniors wanted in their portion of the building. Logically, this input would be done before you start to build.
As someone who uses the Minoru track on a regular basis, I watched as construction went months without any activity. The reason given by city staff for the delay was the weather and a worker shortage. I have lived in Richmond for almost 50 years and the weather was typical and hundreds of other projects were completed during this period.
During this time, I was in St. Albans, England, where a similar project was built. It involved removing an existing building and construction on a flood plain. From start to finish, it took less than three years.
It’s time council and staff admit the project was not properly planned and costed.