Repairs to cost millions

Fixing the fire damage to the Canada Games Centre is going to cost at least $5 million. However, it could be more, said city director of operations Brian Crist. "That figure could change," he said.

Fixing the fire damage to the Canada Games Centre is going to cost at least $5 million.

However, it could be more, said city director of operations Brian Crist.

“That figure could change,” he said. “It is a holding figure at this point. As we pull pieces off and get into the actual damage areas, that’s when we’ll know the true extent of the damage.”

Not only do they have to repair the “extensive structural damage” on the west side of the building, but they have to clean or remove anything that came into contact with the soot and smoke.

“It’s a big job,” said Crist. “There is literally soot from one end of the games centre to the other.”

“It’s actually very heartbreaking to see.”

And the cleanup has to happen quickly.

The soot is acidic, so anything it comes into contact with it corrodes.

“It’s in everybody’s interest that we move fast to clean up he centre,” said Crist.

With this in mind the city has forgone its usual tendering process and hired a contractor to do the work.

“It allows us to do this in a bona fide emergency, and this is a bona fide emergency,” he said.

The city has hired Belfor Property Restoration to do the cleanup.

They’ve already started the work, but it’s going to take some time to complete.

“We’ll be cleaning every single surface inside the building,” said Marshal Oliver, the director of technical services for Belfor Canada. “There’s lots to be determined still, it’s early, but if we had to pick a time for you, my assessment would be two and three months before the cleaning operation will be completed.”

And it won’t all be done at once.

“We are looking at trying to do this in stages so we have pieces we can kind of bite off and potentially open up some areas before others are ready to open,” said Art Manhire, the centre’s indoor facilities manager.

Because the pool area is on a separate heating and cooling system, it was spared much of the smoke damage.

It’s set to open at 4 p.m. Thursday.

The city is hosting a BBQ and free swim to celebrate the grand reopening.

However, as a precaution, anyone with respiratory illnesses is being advised to stay out of the centre until the all the cleaning work is complete.

Most of the centre’s programming has been directed to other facilities around the city.

Still, with the centre closed, the losses could be up to $250,000 a month, said Manhire.

The city’s insurance policy will cover both the cost of the repairs and much of the loss in revenue, said Valerie Anderson, manager of finance.

Council is expected to approve a $5 million budget amendment Monday to pay for the repair and cleanup bills.

That will be paid back by the insurance.

“We are at this time fully expecting to be reimbursed by the insurance company,” said Anderson.

And, thanks to a supplemental policy, the city will only have to pay $5,000 of the deductible, she said.

Contact Josh Kerr at

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