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Sidney buoys public boat launch improvements at Tulista Park

Improvements come a year earlier after boaters expressed concerns about Styrofoam
Willis Rooke of Rooke Marine Towing points to the floats that Sidney plans to replace as part of improvements to the public boat launch at Tulista Park. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

Work on improving the Peninsula’s main public boat lunch in time for next year’s boating season can now get underway after Sidney council approved the necessary funding.

Councillors voted unanimously to award just under $123,000 to North Saanich’s Enviro Float Manufacturing to replace two sets of temporary floats at the public boat launch part of Tulista Park. The issue appeared on council’s agenda in the spring of 2021 when staff heard from boaters concerned with the condition of the existing temporary floats with pieces said to be separating from the floats.

While these seasonal floats feature exposed Styrofoam, a visual inspection did not appear to reveal large chunks separating from the structure.

Against this backdrop, council asked staff to amend its 2021 budget to ensure replacement of the floats before the start of 2022 boating season by moving $110,000 from the 2022 budget to 2021 as the municipality’s reserve fund for the boat launch lacked sufficient funds at the end of 2020.

RELATED: North Saanich residents launch new appeal for public boating access

Ultimately, only one company — Enviro Float Manufacturing — submitted a compliant bid to the tender after the municipality had talked to four potential bidders. But this singular bid came in over budget. The municipality and Enviro Float Manufacturing eventually agreed to remove one element of the tender — removal and disposal of the existing floats — because municipal staff perform this annual task anyway.

Enviro Float Manufacturing, meanwhile, will still be responsible for supplying and installing the new floats, as well new aluminum ramps.

Based on the received bid, the new projected cost is closer to $130,000, which includes the contract and the municipality’s portion of the work, according to staff.

Councillors welcomed the project going ahead earlier, with Coun. Terri O’Keeffe praising staff for their flexibility in moving up the work.

“The community will be grateful for that,” she said.

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Wolf Depner

About the Author: Wolf Depner

I joined the national team with Black Press Media in 2023 from the Peninsula News Review, where I had reported on Vancouver Island's Saanich Peninsula since 2019.
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