Okotoks is still getting a boarded outdoor rink, but it looks like it’ll cost more than initially anticipated.

At their March 27 meeting, Okotoks town council approved an amendment to the 2023 Capital Budget that would double the rink’s funding, with a $1 million cost compared to the originally approved $500,000.

The project was first approved in April of 2022, with the parking lot of John Paul II Collegiate to house the rink year-round.

Irrigation technician and project manager Darcy Findlay explained that the funding increase stems from the contractor bidding process.

“This budget amendment is a reflection of the lowest qualified bidder that we received. We did receive four bids and the lowest bid plus a 15 per cent contingency amount bring us out to the total of $1 million we’re looking to raise the budget to at this point.”

Council was faced with three options; to proceed with the project as proposed with the increased cost, to delay the decision until May 23, or to amend the budget by cancelling the project.

The postponement, according to town administration, could lead to the contractor not being able to meet the project’s timeline, with the project set to begin just after the conclusion of the Alberta Summer Games.

A motion to cancel the project was put forward, though it was defeated, with Councillor Brent Robinson against it.

“I think we should carry on with this project. I think not having an outdoor rink in this community is a huge miss, I think it’s been a miss for almost 20 years, I think it’s a tragedy we didn’t get it done sooner and it’s a shame we didn’t get it done cheaper. But I think there aren’t very many communities of this size that have zero outdoor boarded arenas in them, it is a huge, huge gap in our outdoor recreation amenities.”

Robinson made a motion to approve the amendment and move forward with the project, which was approved by council.