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Stuart Park: 'Stay warm my friends'

Christmas came early for at least one member of Kelowna City Council recently.

"Well, you had me at fire pit," stated Councillor Luke Stack with his best Jerry McGuire reference after learning the second phase of Stuart Park would indeed include a fire pit.

Stack has long been a proponent of adding a fire pit near the outdoor skating rink at Stuart Park.

"Thank you for moving that in. I think the public will absolutely love it," added Stack.

Phase 2 of the Stuart Park expansion will soon go to tender with construction, if all goes well, starting in February.

As with the original phase of Stuart Park which was fraught with financial delays, Phase 2 has hit snags as well.

Andrew Gibbs, park and public space project manager, says the lowest bid from the original tender in the spring came in $700,000 over the council approved budget of $1.9M.

Gibbs says one of the reasons was the risks contractors had in working in and around the water.

"A lot of them are not used to that," says Gibbs.

In order to get around that and lessen the budget, Gibbs says City crews will do much of the work around the water.

"The City crews are used to that so they will kick things off and demolish the walkway and wall and prep the sub grade. In February that waterfront walkway will be closed to the public," says Gibbs.

In March they will begin working on the sub grade and riparian area and shaping the new shoreline.

Gibbs says the contractor would show up on site in April.

The yacht club patio would also be demolished as part of the first portion of the project and Gibbs says it is anticipated construction work would begin, going south to north, to get the promenade open around the yacht club first.

"We want to get that patio up and operating again by the May long weekend so they can have it for peak use before they move into their new building later in the year," says Gibbs.

Once the new yacht club building is finished, sometime in the summer, the current building would be demolished.

That, along with the yacht club parking lot, would be turned into green park space.

Gibbs says it could take up to two months to demolish the building because there are hazardous materials inside the building that will take time to remove and dispose of.

Phase 2 is scheduled for completion at the end of November, however, Gibbs says delays could push completion into the spring of 2015.

With changes to the original design, the new project, priced at $2.06M is expected to go to tender soon.

"We are still over the approved budget by $160,000 but we are proposing we go to tender, see where the prices come in and, with surplus funds from other projects, we would use some of the funds to cover the overage," says Gibbs.


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