North Huron awards contract for Howson Dam engineering plans

·4 min read

WINGHAM – North Huron council received the results from a request for proposals (RFP) for engineering plans that are required to decommission the Howson Bridge and Dam.

After a lengthy discussion, they decided to award the contract to GSS Solutions for $95,000.

Councillors also directed staff to apply for the Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund (DMAF), which will help mitigate infrastructure and adapt to the impacts of climate change.

North Huron’s Director of Public Works, Jamie McCarthy, presented the report to council, which explained the RFP.

The RFP was structured to provide council with options on how to move forward with the asset.

The purpose and scope of the RFP (as outlined below) was the complete removal of the Howson Bridge and Dam. The RFP also invited bidders to provide council with options based on cost-effectiveness and the ability to provide a naturalized river eco-system for the Maitland River.

As part of the RFP, bidders were requested to provide detailed cost estimates based on a project that meets or exceeds all permitting requirements under the Lakes and Rivers Improvement Act (LIRA) at the time of issue. In addition, bidders were also asked to provide costs for:

- Phase One – decommissioning of the Howson Bridge and Dam - The AACE Class 4 Cost Estimate will be used for purposes and must, at a minimum, include the probable costs.

- Phase Two – the naturalization of the Middle Maitland River where the Howson Bridge and Dam is currently located with the preferred option with the two-option reviewed:

1. Rehabilitation of slopes and river bed (identified naturalized optional approaches, such as a: “Rocky Ramp” or “Fully Naturalized back to prior to any Dam”);

2. Provide reporting, costing, and presentation to council on low-cost and naturalization options for the Howson Bridge and Dam.

- Phase Three – Providing documents with the preferred option as decided by the Township of North Huron.

GSS Solutions provided a cost to complete the decommissioning of the Howson Bridge and Dam for the price as mentioned earlier and the naturalization of the area once the removal has been completed.

Within the RFP response, it was noted that if council decided to pursue the ability to maintain the pond, the engineers believed it might be best to leave the north structure and look at it as a “new dam structure.”

This proposal would require additional investigations and testing on the north structure. However, the consultant hypothesizes that retaining the north structure will provide the ability to maintain the pond within the Maitland River.

McCarthy’s report said that an assessment of the stability of the north structure has not been completed and that to investigate, the cost would be similar to the previous study of the south structure.

“Although the south structure is larger than the north, the financial cost of the necessary equipment to provide testing as well, the professional services such as geologists, hydrologists and geotechnical and structural engineering experts will be similar,” she said.

As a result, the estimated cost for an assessment would be an additional $136,000.

McCarthy said making a decision now would provide shovel-ready plans that will “ensure staff are ready to apply for funding to assist with decommissioning of the asset.”

“One of the new funding possibilities is the Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund (DMAF),” the report said.

“Eligible infrastructure projects under the DMAF include new construction of public infrastructure and/or modification or reinforcement of existing public infrastructure including natural infrastructure that prevent, mitigate or protect against the impacts of climate change, disasters triggered by natural hazards, and extreme weather.

“The Howson Bridge and Dam would fit into this funding stream as it creates flooding issues downstream of its location. The removal would benefit the environment and provide further mitigation to North Huron.”

The remaining balance in reserves for the Howson Bridge and Dam is approximately $47,000. Unfortunately, these funds are not adequate to complete the required engineering and consulting work to decommission the Howson Bridge and Dam.

The remainder of the $95,000 proposal is $48,426 plus non-refundable HST, which will be included in the 2022 draft budget.

Cory Bilyea, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Wingham Advance Times

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