Kimberley City Council, amid uncertainties about the final cost of the project, voted to delay work on the next and final phase of the Mark Creek flume rehab this week. That means there will be no work on the widening and deepening of Mark Creek through wKimberley to replace the concrete flume that has reached the end of its useful life.
The City had been awarded federal and provincial grants for two thirds of the project, budgeted at $3.15 million.
So what happens now? Does the grant money get returned? Is the project just shelved until the City feels comfortable with the budget and the tenders?
Not necessarily, says Mayor Don McCormick. There are some next steps that will be taken immediately.
“There are two critical things,” he said. “First is moving forward with finding an appropriate engineering firm to give us a second opinion and assess what all our approaches and options may be.
“The whole uncertainty around what exactly happens with BJ’s Restaurant has to be resolved amicably on both sides.”
BJ’s sits at a narrow area of the creek right at the Wallinger Ave./Hwy 95A bridge. In his report to Council, Don Schacher from Operations wrote:
“There could be possible cost overruns during construction of the flume in the area of BJ Restaurant, as the flume design is within 0.4 of a meter of the building and shotcrete to stabilize the excavation could be needed which was not considered during design.
There is also the issue of BJ’s Lounge, part of which was built on City land, which would have to be removed during construction.
The second critical piece is assuring funding will remain in place.
“I need to follow up on how we keep the grant,” McCormick said. “We are looking at changing the parameters of the grant. The key question is ‘should we be penalized for exercising fiscal responsibility? I have some work to do there.”
Another key is getting tender documents out by November or December. McCormick was visibly annoyed on Tuesday evening as it became apparent that changes were taking place after the tender.
“It’s a tender. It’s a fixed price. We don’t change it after the tender is in. And a contingency is to account for unforeseen events not to account for poor estimates.”
As for the report which stated that it would cost the City $386,000 not to proceed, McCormick says he believes there is a degree of interpretation in those numbers.
“We’re not really stopping. We’re doing it in 2016 instead of 2015. We’ll see. I’m not convinced those are hard costs.”
In the end, the Mayor says he is happy with the way it worked out.
“We would have loved to see it go ahead. Everyone wants it done. But I don’t think anyone sitting at the Council table would say they didn’t get to put forward their opinion. It was a good discussion. And I think we did the right thing.”