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

Royal Bay drama students help police train for emergency

Students helped train crisis negotiators by acting out scenarios

Westhills proposes picnic area, pier and beach by Langford Lake

The public amenity contribution is part of a proposed deal for a waterfront restaurant

Victoria BC Transit driver taken to hospital after assault

Driver attempted to stop an altercation between two people on the bus

How a scrawny kid from Oak Bay bulked into one of rugby sevens’ best

Doing it for Dylan, Oak Bay’s Connor Braid at the top of his game

CRD’s 2019 financial plan includes 23 per cent increase for capital projects

Housing, health care and wastewater projects included in 2019 plan

VIDEO: Restaurant robots are already in Canada

Robo Sushi in Toronto has waist-high robots that guide patrons to empty seats

POLL: When do you think the next major earthquake will hit Vancouver Island?

According to seismologists, Vancouver Island is overdue for a magnitude 7 earthquake.… Continue reading

Greater Victoria Wanted List for the week of March 19

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

View Royal council to discuss proposed 3.5% tax increase tonight

Budget open house to directly precede the council meeting

Permit rejected to bring two cheetahs to B.C.

Earl Pfeifer owns two cheetahs, one of which escaped in December 2015

Real-life tsunami threat in Port Alberni prompts evacuation updates

UBC study says some people didn’t recognize the emergency signal

Care providers call for B.C. seniors’ watchdog to step down

The association also asks the province to conduct an audit and review of the mandate of her office

Nitro Cold Brew Coffee from B.C. roaster recalled due to botulism scare

“If you purchased N7 Nitro Cold Brew Coffee from Cherry Hill … do not drink it.”

Short list for new gnome home includes Parksville, Coombs

Five potential locations have been chosen by Howard’s owners who will decide Tuesday

Most Read