CPR Steamship terminal reno budget blown by $2 million

Tenantless terminal building concerns Minister Chong

Renovations to the CPR Steamship building are running between $1.5- and $2 million over budget.

The cost overruns are accruing at the same time as a failed bidding process to lease the building threatens to leave it empty for longer than planned.

“That is what I am concerned about,” said Ida Chong, Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development. “My conversations with the (Provincial Capital Commission) will be, ‘What are you guys doing to make sure there is not a long-term loss for the building?’”

Last month, the PCC rejected all three of the proponents that submitted proposals to occupy the building, at 463 Belleville St.

The Crown agency, headed by CEO Ray Parks, is now establishing a new process for leasing the building.

His goal is to select tenants by August.

“The timeline hasn’t changed,” said Parks. “What has changed is the amount of work I have to get done in the same period of time. You can bet we’re going to move heaven and earth here to get this done.”

Depending on tenants’ space-improvement schedules, the building should be open to the public sometime in 2012.

Renovations are also due for completion in August.

In November 2009, the provincial and federal governments announced a $3-million contribution to upgrade the building to modern earthquake standards. The March 2011 deadline was extended when work crews discovered more deterioration during the renovation.

“The issue was the floor,” said Chong. “When they ripped up the carpets and saw the floor was in really bad shape, there was no way they could just cover it up.”

Chong would not confirm that the provincial government will cover the extra costs.

“But it is a very important public asset, so it’s not like were going to let the floor deteriorate any worse than it is.”

Meanwhile, Chong has agreed to have her staff “look over concerns” raised about the PCC by Bob Wright.

Wright, of the Oak Bay Marine Group, was one of three parties to submit proposals to lease the CPR Steamship building. He has accused the PCC of mismanaging the building and the request for proposal process, and claims his proposal for a high-tech exhibit highlighting B.C. history was rejected on faulty grounds.

Chong called the RFP process fair.

“It was open, it was transparent,” she said.

Her ministry will examine the PCC “with respect to the PCC board, but not with respect to the RFP proposal,” she said. “If it’s determined that the board was within their right to put it through this process, that is something the board has the authority to do. I don’t believe I’m in a position to overstep how the board made that determination.”

rholmen@vicnews.com

Just Posted

Esquimalt requests public feedback as it plans for plastic bag ban

An online survey aims to gather information before the ban comes into effect in January 2020

Busy Tuesday for BC Ferries passengers

Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay route sold out for 7 a.m.

Rain with a high of 16 C for Tuesday

Plus your weekly forecast

Canada Women’s Rugby 7s Team land at home after series triumph

Next stop at Langford offers Olympic qualification

Castaway Wanderers men, women advance to B.C. semifinals

Castaway Wanderers men trounce UVic 59-29 in playoffs

Easter bombings a response to New Zealand attacks, says Sri Lanka minister

The Islamic State group asserted it was responsible for the nine bombings

New commemorative loonie marking ‘progress’ for LGBTQ2 people to be unveiled today

But advocates say it mistakenly suggests equality has been achieved largely as a result of government actions

B.C. VIEWS: NDP’s lawyer show is turning into a horror movie

Court actions pile up over pipelines, car insurance, care aides

United Way opens grants to help charities tackle social issues

Charities north of the Malahat can apply for grants $2,000 to $20,000

POLL: How often does your family use BC Ferries?

Navigating the lineups for BC Ferries is a way of life for… Continue reading

Crime Stoppers most wanted for Greater Victoria for the week of April 16

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Sri Lanka invokes war-time military powers after nearly 300 killed in Easter bombings

Sri Lanka’s minister of tourism says 39 foreign tourists were killed in the Easter Sunday attacks

Man’s body found in popular Cowichan Valley hiking area

Police say death not suspicious after discovery in Stoney Hill area overlooking Saltspring Island

Most Read