Tenders are in for construction of the Joseph Brant Museum expansion, and the lowest bid, $8.9 million from Aquicon Construction Co. Ltd., is $471,850 over budget. The total project cost was estimated at $10.4 million in November 2016, revised up to $10.965 million in September 2017, and revised upward again last week to $11.437 million after construction tenders came in.
The city’s share of these costs has risen from $2.1 million to $3.978 million, not including additional operating and capital renewal costs.
Funding sources for the Capital project are:
- Federal Cultural Spaces Grant: $ 4.479 million
- Provincial Trillium Grant: $ 500,000
- Joseph Brant Museum Foundation: $ 2.479 million
- City of Burlington: $ 3.978 million (up from $2.1 million)
TOTAL: $11.437 million
The city is waiting on news of a grant request for an additional $1 million in provincial funding, which would help defray the city’s portion of costs.
The annual operating shortfall for the museum is projected to be $208,000, due mostly to hiring three additional staff. The shortfall is spread over both Joseph Brant Museum and Ireland House, as salaries are split between the two venues.
Staff are proposing to address the operating shortfall through the 2018 budget with a combination of one-time funding of $87,000 spread over two years, and an increase to the base budget grant of $150,000, followed by 2% annual increases thereafter. It is expected that revenue from up to two travelling exhibits each year, and potential sponsorship or other fundraising, will help to defray some of the operating shortfall.
The capital renewal costs are estimated to be an additional $190,000 per year, currently unfunded. One funding option, used at other city facilities, is to add a capital surcharge to admission prices.
The financial details and recommendations to award the tender and increase the city’s share of the project are included in a staff report and related Appendices on the agenda for the Committee of the Whole Sept. 25.
This project was pitched to the community with a cap on the city taxpayer contribution, which has now grown exponentially in both capital and operating. Residents deserve more accurate forecasting when asked to support new projects – and an opportunity to review the viability and need of the project when costs escalate. The project began in 2001 when KNY Architects were commissioned to provide a feasibility study. There’s been no substantial review or modification to the scope of the project as costs have increased.