By Trevor Busch
An intersection project planned for access into the town’s new industrial development has been postponed due to excessive costs until 2016.
At their June 22 meeting, town council voted 6-1 to reject all bids on the Highway 36 and 69th Avenue intersection on the basis the bids exceed budget, and directed administration to work with Alberta Transportation to lower the intersection requirements and re-tender the project at a later date. Coun. Joe Strojwas opposed the motion.
“If this were not to proceed ahead right now, as soon as possible, are we in jeopardy of losing some land sales?” asked Strojwas. “Being that this is so far over budget, is there a possibility of recouping this through increased land costs? Because I doubt you had that high of a figure built into your land base. What is that going to mean for an additional per acre cost?”
Planning manager Cory Armfelt indicated access for construction purposes for existing lots sold would be available if an intersection were not to be constructed in 2015.
“It would be unfair to recoup this cost on the two parcels we’ve just subdivided,” said Armfelt.
“It would have to be over the balance of the entire area.”
Associated Engineering had been working with Alberta Transportation in the development of the Highway 36 and 69th Avenue intersection into the town’s new industrial subdivision Eureka.
“It’s unfortunate the bids came in so high,” said Strojwas, in reference to Alberta Transportation requirements for the intersection, which pushed costs higher.
“It would be unfortunate to postpone this, because being that we have a new government and policies may change, if we shelve this project.”
Challenges encountered included the length of turnoffs, street lighting, raised curbs, road structure and line painting.
“We’ve been moving quite well out in that industrial section with land sales,” said Strojwas. It would be a shame to stall that momentum that we’ve built up. Unfortunately, it’s a whack of money. I’m of the mindset that with all the time and effort put in, and the momentum that’s going, we need to proceed even though we have a higher than anticipated figure.”
Tenders received for the project include Tollestrup Construction Inc. ($1,422,132.33) and McNall”y Contractors Ltd. ($1,627,684.62)
The bid submitted by Tollestrup Construction Inc. was the lowest cost, but the company failed to include supplemental forms with their bid submission, which was subsequently deemed non-compliant.
Total cost for the intersection, which included McNally’s bid and engineering costs, is $1,674,125.83, exclusive of GST, leaving the tender bid over budget by $474,125.82.
“A concern of mine is that we don’t seem to be allocating enough money,” said Coun. Laura Ross-Giroux. “The bids that we’re putting out, all of a sudden we always seem to be hit with this at the last minute, or this change, and that change, and we’re coming in and dipping into our capital reserves all the time. I think we really need to re-examine our figures and look at worst case scenarios, or adding 20 per cent to what we’re doing and hope for the best. It seems lately everything that has come to us, the figures are outside what we’ve allocated. I’d like to really get this examined and see what we can do better.”
Mayor Henk De Vlieger was personally in favour of postponing the project for a later date.
“I personally think that we can take the chance to wait and tender it next fall for early spring. We still have to start developing the development itself.”