MD council reviews major projects

·3 min read

The MD of Pincher Creek has a number of major construction projects on the go this summer with varying price tags and unique circumstances. MD council reviewed several projects during its June 14 regular meeting.

Beaver Mines water

Council received a funding update on the Beaver Mines water and wastewater project, one of the biggest infrastructure projects in MD history.

The updated forecast for the project is $14.1 million. The original anticipated total was $1 million less, but a number of change orders over the last two years — the most recent being a 15 per cent increase in the lift station and force main tender process due to market conditions — led to the adjusted forecast.

$3.9 million has already gone into the project.

While a sizable chunk of money, the bulk of the project is covered through grants from the Alberta government, specifically $6 million through the Small Community Fund and $4.6 million through the Alberta Municipal Water/Wastewater Partnership. Both grants were awarded to the MD specifically for the Beaver Mines project.

The MD’s contribution comes from its Municipal Sustainability Initiative allocation, which is an annual amount the province gives the MD to use as it sees fit, and from money the MD has saved in reserves.

The MD has spent $214,692 from reserves and $3,278,287 from MSI. Initially, council had approved only $3 million from MSI, but cost increases necessitated the amount be amended to $3.4 million, which council approved during the meeting.

Though a significant cost, finance director Meghan Dobie said it was important to remember the majority of the project was being funded through grants from the Alberta government.

“I know it does seem like a very big number, but really focus on the MSI and reserves. That is the portion that is essentially being funded by the MD itself,” she said. “That helps soften the conversation.”

Construction on the water distribution and collection system is expected to be finished this summer, with the wastewater treatment, force main and lift station completed by the end of 2023. Individual lot servicing is currently planned to begin next spring.

Bridges

Construction funding for the bridge over Screwdriver Creek received a $96,000 top-up to cover the costs of replacing a culvert and contracting a new company. The total project cost sits at $420,000.

The first culvert ordered was damaged in a windstorm before it could be transported to the MD’s public works yard. Buying a new culvert will cost $44,512, though administration is checking the insurance coverage to see if any of the cost can be recouped.

The company originally contracted in 2021 was the lowest bidder but ended up defaulting. Rather than spend money retendering, the MD selected local contractor Don Boyce, who offered the second-lowest bid.

The $96,000 will come from MSI.

Another bridge file involving a culvert was the Heath Creek culvert replacement, which has been deferred to the 2023 budget due to significant cost increases.

Council had agreed to add $45,000 to the project during its May 24 meeting, but administration recommended cancelling the replacement for this year after receiving bids that were much higher than the estimated amount.

The MD’s engineering estimate pegged the project at $384,700; the lowest bid received was $491,297.

A June 2 inspection showed there has been no degradation since a 2018 inspection was conducted, indicating it was safe to delay the culvert replacement.

Lastly, council approved repairs to the Fisher Bridge this year, with the understanding that some of the project costs will carry over into 2023 due to delivery timelines being pushed back.

$1,225,200 has been budgeted for the bridge, with 75 per cent of the cost covered by the provincial government’s Strategic Transportation Infrastructure Program. The remaining $310,050 will come from the MD’s MSI allocation.

The next MD council meeting will be held Tuesday, June 28, 6 p.m. in council chambers.

Sean Oliver, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Shootin' the Breeze

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