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Cottonwood Drive improvement project should begin soon after council approves project despite budget overruns
Construction should begin very soon to upgrade one of the town’s busiest roads during the holiday tourist season following a decision by Town of Osoyoos council last week to award the contract even though the project was tendered at $75,000 over the original budget estimates from last year.
The Cottonwood Drive reconstruction project was tendered with the closing date of August 13. This project was included in the 2013 financial plan with a projected budget of $409,000.
The project received approval from town council last year to borrow funds to finance the project and pay it back over several years at the July 2 meeting of council and the project was reviewed two weeks later prior to the project being tendered.
Only two tenders were received with Grizzly Excavating being the lowest tender bid.
True Consulting, the town’s longtime engineering consultant, reviewed the tender packages and recommended the tender be awarded to Grizzly Excavating.
The project can be completed before the end of the 2013 paving season if the contract was awarded at last week’s council meeting, said a staff report.
This project has come in almost $76,000 over budget mainly due to additional drainage piping and infrastructure needed to deal with drainage issues on several surrounding streets, including Jackpine Lane, Maple Street and Ponderosa Avenue, says a staff report.
After careful consideration, staff recommended awarding the project to Grizzly Excavating in the amount of $459,648, which includes a $15,000 contingency allowance and GST, said Barry Romanko, the town’s chief administrative officer during his presentation to council.
These costs can be covered by diverting funds from two other construction projects in town that came in under budget, he said.
The staff report says upgraded drainage work as proposed have the objective of collecting water from Cottonwood Drive, but also to address drainage issues on Ponderosa, Jackpine Lane and Maple Street.
“The system as proposed is a combination of drywells, perforated pipe and storage to minimize volumes discharged into Osoyoos Lake through the existing outfall,” said the report. “The difference in cost between the Grizzly tender and the True estimate is entirely represented by additional drainage works.
“For the project to proceed as tendered, additional funds for the drainage component are required. With the degree of consultation with public works on project design drawings, we are hesitant to cut back on the proposed drainage works. Public works have had to respond to historical drainage problems in the (Cottonwood) area and best understand what is required to resolve the issues.
Mayor Stu Wells said “after a long run of several projects coming in under budget” over the past couple of years, it’s unfortunate to see a couple of recent projects have to be revised because they were so far over budget.
After reading the staff report, it’s clear to him that fixing all of the drainage issues along Cottonwood Drive and the adjacent streets all at once as part of this project is the right thing to do, said Wells.
Cottonwood Drive is an extremely busy roadway during the tourist season with the town’s main public beach, several hotels, Cottonwood Park, the Sage Pub and several condominium buildings located very close to each other, said Wells.
“There are always huge crowds of people milling around there because of the pub, the park and the public beach,” he said. “We certainly don’t want this area messed with during the busy tourist season.”
Despite the extra dollars that will be needed to build a new paved road and sidewalks and curbs from Hwy. 3 to past the Sage Pub, it’s his opinion that this is a project that should proceed as quickly as possible, said Wells.
Coun. Michael Ryan agreed, saying “it’s always disappointing when a project goes over budget.”
However, the extra costs will be spent upgrading all of the drainage issues that have long plagued this particular area of town and he’s in favour of proceeding with this project as quickly as possible, said Ryan.
“I still feel comfortable and confident with awarding this tender,” he said.
Coun. Mike Plante said Cottonwood Drive has needed a major upgrade for many years and he’s in favour of approving this project despite the budget increase.
“I think it’s an important project and we need to finish it now,” he said.
Grizzly Excavating is expected to begin construction this week or next and there’s a provision the project must be finished before the construction season of 2013 ends.