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Open house coming on proposed $16.3M Grand Forks community center

People in the Grand Forks area will get to see and hear more information before a vote on a proposed multi-million dollar regional community center.

An open house by the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary is less than two weeks away for residents of the city and Electoral Area D.

RDKB Operations General Manager James Chandler says the cost of the center is pegged at $16.3 million but that could change.

“One of our big goals is to pursue capital funding grants. To what level we’ll be successful there, we don’t yet know. It could change anything from 75 per cent to 50 per cent of those costs in terms of what we actually end up having to borrow,” Chandler said in an interview with Vista Radio.

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Chandler says the open house will be a very informal affair where members of the public will be able to directly ask senior staff questions about the project.

“They can come and ask questions about any information they have received or read. We’re there to answer their questions. It’s an informal type venue so turn up at any time through that period. We will also have a small amount of display information,” he said.

The community center would be built next to the aquatic center in Grand Forks at Highway 3 and 19th Street. It would be a single-storey building, roughly 13,000 square feet, with a kitchen, washrooms, a cafe and a community hall with seating for 250.

Asked whether the project takes into account the sudden jump in building and construction costs during the pandemic, Chandler says the budget was reworked with the help of outside experts to “benchmark” the “cost escalation factor” based on what’s happening in the industry across British Columbia.

Residents will vote in a referendum during the fall municipal election on Saturday, Oct. 15 on whether they agree with the regional district borrowing up to $16.3 million for the build.

The open house on Monday, Sept. 19 runs for 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Grand Forks and District Aquatic Center.

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