The Town of Smithers spent nearly half a million dollars on the purchase, remediation and construction of Bovill Square.
According to a report filed by director of finance Leslie Ford that was included in the Nov. 26 regular council meeting agenda, the town came up with $467,485 to purchase and remediate the lot and for other contributions like landscaping and storm sewer and irrigation installation.
The report said the total cost of the project, over the last three years, was $687,766.
Ford’s total doesn’t include an estimated $80,000 to $100,000 in volunteer labour and in-kind donations the came in for the project.
Mayor Taylor Bachrach said he thinks public spaces like Bovill Square can be a “game-changer for communities if they’re done right.”
“You have to consider what we started with,” he said. “A contaminated site right in the heart of our downtown, directly on Main Street. It’s something that really detracts from what we’re trying to do here in Smithers. We took that contaminated site and unusable building and have turned it into what is going to be a really vibrant public space.
“Yes, that costs money. I’m optimistic it’s going to be a place where people come together and it’s going to provide another venue for Smithers’ performing artists, which is something we’re widely known for.”
Ford said the money for the project came from the town’s land sales and utility reserves.
The cost of the stage makes up about 20 per cent of the overall total. Including foundation, it cost just more than $160,000.
The Smithers Centennial Committee raised about $200,000 which paid for stage construction, electrical work, underground drainage and the commissioning of the First Nations’ crests.
A large portion of the town’s costs come from the purchase of the lot at 1089 Main St., formerly the site of a garage.
They bought it in 2011 for $159,427.14 and spent more than $200,000 demolishing the building and remediating it to an acceptable environmental standard.
Landscaping came in at $124,608 and storm sewer and irrigation installation was another $18,500.
The Bovill Square stage, which was shut down for a few months following the August fire at the adjacent buildings, is now open to the public again and was used recently during Christmas in the Valley festivities.
The only cost to use the stage is a refundable key deposit of $50 for access to the power supply.
For more on the stage’s booking policy, call Andrew Hillaby at the Town of Smithers.
To view more details on the costs of Bovill Square, you can see the report in the Nov. 26 Town of Smithers regular council agenda (item 7.2.3). Go to www.smithers.ca.