Two of three items on the agenda at a Special Meeting of the Council of the City of Castlegar on Wednesday, July 3 involved big money.
The first item was the approval of the 2013 to 2015 paving program. Selkirk Paving was awarded the contract worth a three-year total of $992,493.50 plus GST. Only two bids were received, the other coming from Power Paving. Their bid of $1,186,745.50 was considerably more than the budgeted $976,000.
Selkirk paving has held the city’s paving contract for the past six years.
A list of roads to be paved will be forthcoming from city staff and posted to the city’s website.
The other item, drawing much more comment from councillors, was the Millennium Ponds Project at Twin Rivers Park.
Marwest Industries was awarded a contract for the construction of the three ponds in the amount of $1,084,922 plus GST. This contract added another $425,000 to the 2013 budget and the community’s Five Year Plan, all of it coming from internal reserve fund borrowing.
Coun. Kevin Chernoff said the Marwest tender appeared most beneficial to the community after careful evaluation of contracts. He also suggested the city would work with Marwest to possibly bring the project in at a lower final cost.
Coun. Sue Heaton-Sherstobitoff questioned the extra spending and raised questions concerning flooding of the lower pond during the high water season.
“The price just keeps going up and up for ponds that could be flooded,” said Heaton-Sherstobitoff. “One in 10 years or one in 20 years or even more so, at $1.6 million dollars; I’m pretty sure the taxpayers would want to know why $1.6 million and it’s not useable all the time.”
Chris Barlow, director of public works and transportation, said the flooding was evaluated and was a “decision point” on the project going forward.
“It is a one-off project, it is in an environmentally sensitive area and it is a high profile project for the city,” said Barlow. “There’s a lot of engineering that has gone into it and a lot of approvals have gone into it and some of the cost increases that have gone into it have been things like archaeological assessments , environmental monitoring and well as some of the construction costs that were higher than anticipated than when the bids came in. As we’ve figured out more and more of what is required on this project, the budget has come along with it.”
Coun. Chernoff said the ponds project was one brought forward by the community and was “the vision for that area.”
“It’s kind of a keystone for anything else that happens in that park,” said Chernoff.
Coun. Heaton-Sherstobitoff said the public might re-think the spending in light of the flooding and spending increases.
Coun. Deb McIntosh said she was in favour of the project but asked where the cap on spending would be.
“What you have in that total number, is the number that we see as worst case. There is hope that we would be able to bring the project in under that,” said CAO John Malcolm.
Both spending measures were approved.
The item that didn’t involve significant spending was the appointment of Carolyn Rempel as the new Chief Election Officer for the 2013 by-election, coming about due to the retirement of Coun. Russ Hearne.
John Malcolm and Nicole Brown were also appointed Deputy Chief Election Officers.
The Chief Electoral Officer will receive remuneration of $800 and the Deputy Chief Election Officers will receive $550.
The by-election is set for Saturday, September 14.
The next regular council meeting is Monday, July 15 in the Community Forum at #101 – 445 13th Avenue, Castlegar.