The district of Invermere took another step forward on the new multi-use centre, awarding the architectural services work on the project to a Vancouver company at the most recent council meeting.

Invermere councillors unanimously voted at their Tuesday, January 27th meeting to follow the recommendations of the multi-use advisory committee and district staff and select Vancouver-based Shape Architecture.

“This now allows us to move forward with other steps in the multi-use centre,” said Invermere chief administrative officer Chris Prosser, adding the total cost of the services, which will likely extend over a period of several years, is in the range of $330,000 to $525,000.

“That’s not just architectural fees, however, it includes the cost of a slew of about probably 10 different consultants who will work with the architects, such as geotechnical engineers, mechanical engineers, structural engineers and so on,” said Prosser.

The district received 21 proposals for the architectural services work, which were shortlisted and then subject to an internal and external review before the advisory committee and district staff interviewed the final two candidates, with Shape Architecture being the top preference.

In discussion on funding for the architectural services Prosser suggested to councillors that it would be ideal to find money for it in the district’s general revenue rather than from the money it has already earmarked for construction of the centre, since using money earmarked for construction for architectural fees would reduce the scope of construction possible when it comes time to build.

Several councillors suggested seeing if some of the money for the architectural services could come from Regional District of East Kootenay money committed to the project.

“I’ll talk with other valley officials about it, but some of them may not want to pitch in until the centre is up and operating,” said Invermere mayor Gerry Taft.

Shape Architecture will be coming to Invermere throughout February and March for discussion with the advisory committee and multi-use centre user groups, with the goal of taking the existing concept plan for the centre and turning it into a detailed design plan.

Once the detailed design plan is in place, a list of tenders documents can be made and then the process of finding a contractors to build the centre can begin.

“Initially the goal was to have the detailed design plan done by the end of this fall, so that theoretically we could put out tender this fall,” said Taft, adding that the possibility of a large grant may delay that process a few months.

The district plans to ask for up to $6 million dollars from the grant — a Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM)-administered Strategic Priorities — and although the district probably won’t get the full amount, councillors are hopefully they can get a least some money from thengrant for the multi-use centre, given’s the centre’s regional nature.

The catch with the grant is that projects already under construction in late 2015 or early 2016 will be ineligible, prompting the district to consider waiting a bit to begin building the centre.