FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Fort St. John City Council has decided to defer a decision on whether or not to proceed with building a dog park and its associated amenities in Toboggan Hill Park after the lowest tendered bid for the project came in over $200,000 over budget.

In a report to Council, staff said that the City received three bids for the dog park project, all of which came in well over the City’s $500,000 budget for the project.

Knappett Industries’ bid totalled $705,947, while bids from S. Young Enterprises and DGS Astro Paving totalled $1,060,034 and $1,275,862.11 respectively.

Staff had recommended to Council that the tender be awarded to the lowest bidder – Knappett – and that Council approve an additional $368,000 from last year’s capital budget reserve for the project to cover consulting fees, contracting costs and contingencies.

Councillor Byron Stewart stated that he was at first surprised to hear about the large sticker price tag, but that after looking at the scope of the work to be done, said that the price wasn’t necessarily overblown.

However, councillor Trevor Bolin expressed concern about the large increase in the budget, and said he wasn’t able to support the recommendation until a breakdown of the costs for the project was given.

Mayor Ackerman also asked about the City’s capital reserve, which contains funds from projects that come in under the budgeted amount.

Finance Director Shirley Collington said that currently, the City’s general reserve contains an estimated $40 million, though a large amount of those funds are earmarked for other projects, including the new RCMP detachment.

Council voted in favour of tabling the motion until the next council meeting on August 13th, when staff will be presenting a breakdown for the costs associated with the features of the new dog park, as well as a breakdown of earmarked funds in the City’s reserve.