Construction delays are pushing back the opening of the Remai Modern Art Gallery, again.
In a letter to council ahead of a Monday committee meeting, Remai board chair Alain Gaucher says the latest construction timeline could push the opening date beyond September 2017.
“We share the frustration of ongoing delays in this construction project,” he wrote, noting the initial timeline had the gallery slated for a late May opening.
But now building company Ellis Don has told gallery staff the building won’t reach “substantial completion” until February 27. Once that threshold is passed, the Remai Modern team requires eight months to prepare the gallery for opening.
With gallery staff not expected to be working onsite until mid-March, a potential grand opening to the public would have to be pushed back to either late October or mid-November.
When Gaucher stood in front of Saskatoon’s city council in November 2016, he outlined a likely opening date sometime “mid-year.”
“It’s a real challenge and a frustration for all of us,” Mayor Charlie Clark told 650 CKOM. “We’re working and doing everything we can to compress the amount of time it will take to move in.”
During a governance and priorities committee meeting Monday, Coun. Troy Davies asked who would be held accountable for the delays.
City Manager Murray Totland said the incremental timelines were due to a “litany of changes” in the design of the building.
The delayed opening could have a significant impact on the gallery’s operating budget for 2017.
Gaucher noted their revenue streams were pro-rated based on a Sept. 2017 opening. Any further delays could eat away at party-planning and catering revenue planned for the gallery.
The Remai Modern already had $75,000 of its funding cut from the 2017 budget when it became apparent the gallery was looking at a fall opening.