SOUTH DUNDAS – It will cost a bit more than planned, but the Morrisburg roundabout and street-scape project is proceeding.
South Dundas municipal council approved its portion of the now $5 million dollar infrastructure project at a special meeting held June 7.
Earlier in the day, SDG County Council approved the overall tender, which was awarded to Coco Paving Inc. That company’s bid was the only bid received for the project.
Faced with a project that is needed but over-budget, South Dundas council followed suit in providing its stamp of approval. They also had to figure out how to pay for the extra $131,861.80 in costs that South Dundas is on the hook for in the bid. The municipality’s 2021 budget included $250,000 for South Dundas’ share.
First, some provisional items, eight park benches and the concrete pads to install the benches on, were removed. A test pit that was to confirm the location of existing utilities was removed from the budget as it was an “if needed” item. South Dundas CAO Shannon Geraghty told council that if the test pit was needed, it could be funded through the contingency budget. With the removal of these provisional items the South Dundas portion of the project cost will be $351,861.80.
Staff recommended to council adding $30,000 from the economic development reserve towards paying for the street-scape project because of the long-term affect the project will have for attracting new residents and businesses. The remaining $101.861.80 budget shortfall will be paid for from the municipality’s working reserves which will be repaid in the 2022 budget.
“Given the fact that the roundabout is going to be there anyway, our elements adding to it will make [the street-scape] something special,” said Deputy Mayor Kirsten Gardner. “We are missing in Morrisburg that main street ‘feel’ and while the roundabout will not replace what was lost in the Seaway project I do think that it will be an improvement on what is currently there.”
She spoke positively of the improvement a similar project in Long Sault had on the look of that community.
“Definitely more pedestrian traffic, more things going on, it has added additional activity and it does look different.”
Councillor Donald Lewis said that he did not want to see the project get put on “the back burner” for another year.
“This is going to be a lot safer when it is completed, not only for traffic but for pedestrians,” Lewis said. “Let’s see it all done at once and hopefully we’ll get a good project when it’s finished.”
Councillor Archie Mellan, who served on the previous council which began this infrastructure renewal process over five years ago, said he was disappointed to see only one bid on the project.
“I can understand why there was only one bid, because it was put back late,” he said adding that if the project was deferred for another year it would be “rolling the dice” when dealing with increased costs.
“The Counties are good with [the project] and they are ready to run with it. I think it would be shortsighted on our part if we were not to be on board since it is right through the heart of our largest village.”
Mayor Steven Byvelds said that the bid from Coco Paving was still competitive when analyzed against the previous tenders on a unit price basis.
“That gave the Counties a good comparison,” he said.
Speaking to the local connection with the contractor having operations in South Dundas, Byvelds said that many of the employees live in the municipality and he believed they want to do “a good project in South Dundas and the village of Morrisburg”.
Council passed the revised spending plan and the tender bid. Councillor Lloyd Wells did not attend the council meeting, which was held virtually due to the current COVID-19 restrictions on in-person meetings. Wells owns property on CR2 east of the street-scape project in Morrisburg. To date he has not declared any pecuniary interest in past council discussions about this project.
Phillip Blancher, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Morrisburg Leader