Sidney officials will learn later this year whether proposed improvements to a piece of municipal infrastructure will happen this year at the same time as a federal remediation project in the area.
Transport Canada tendered its proposed remediation of Reay Creek pond Monday, with an estimated price tag ranging between $1 and $5 million and a closing date for June 12. Once the federal government has chosen the winning bid, Sidney will ask the winning contractor whether that company will also be able to upgrade the municipal-owned dam that creates the pond.
“Once Transport Canada has selected a contractor, basically we will be asking the contractor if they can do the dam concurrently,” said Coun. Peter Wainwright. “It’s not going to be safe to have two different contractors [on site]. So if the contractor that wins the tender is willing to do the work for the Town, great. Then we will be looking to get that underway. If not, then I’m afraid we will have to put off the dam remediation to next year.”
Transport Canada is remediating the pond after assuming responsibility for polluting it. Municipal officials have been working with their federal counterpart to determine whether it might be possible to combine the remediation of the pond with the upgrade to the dam itself.
Doing both projects concurrently promises to ease the impact on the local ecology, because crews would have to drain the pond only once, not twice. But the public also heard earlier this year that doing the work concurrently could actually end up costing the municipality.
“If this [concurrent work] were to occur, [Sidney] would have to forego its established tendering process, which does create the potential for incurring greater costs and decreasing levels of control,” said Randy Humble, Sidney’s chief administrative officer, earlier this year.“Having said that, the use of a single construction management contractor for both projects to be undertaken concurrently also creates potential opportunities for cost savings, higher levels of communication, and coordinated approach.” Humble also added completing both projects at the same time would result in savings around de-watering the pond.
The tendering deadline expires on June 12, three days before the opening of the window during which the work could take place, with said window closing on Sept. 15. That would also be the window during which Sidney’s work would take place if pushed to next year.
As a Sidney staff report notes, Transport Canada still feels that the project would proceed this year. “[However], they are behind schedule by approximately [two] weeks, starting at least a couple weeks into the June 15 fisheries window.”
Notably though, the report says that Transport Canada has not yet contacted neighbours in the area because officials want to ensure that the project is proceeding.
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