Gore Bay accepts water main bid for Phipps, Eleanor Streets

GORE BAY—Gore Bay council has accepted one of four bids for the construction of the water main work on Phipps and Eleanor Streets, but with bids higher than anticipated, the town will be contacting the contractor to look at where some costs can be saved. This comes amidst one councillor having brought forward concerns that instead of hiring a company from off-Island for the project, the work should have been undertaken by a local company.

Council was informed the request for proposals had been issued and the tenders were opened on May 3. From there the bids were sent to the township engineer of this project, R.V. Anderson Associates Limited for the bids to be analyzed and a recommendation put forward to council for its meeting this past Monday.

Town Clerk Annette Clarke explained, “you have a breakdown in front of you, and a recommendation from R.V. Anderson on the bids.” It was recommended that the bid from Lacroix Construction, which was the lowest bid at $2,525,895.78, be accepted. In total what the town has in funding and its own share off the costs of the project it still leaves a shortfall on all three parts of the project, Phipps Street A, Phipps Street B, Eleanor Street and engineering costs, of a total of $280,403.905.

“That shortfall of $280,403.95 has not been budgeted for,” Ms. Clarke told council. She pointed out council could pay its share of $93,467.98 from the town’s water reserve as well as an additional $186,935.97 paid from the water reserve. She also said in discussion with representatives of R.V. Anderson, it was recommended that they could look at some of the lump sums on bids in the tender which were large to see if some cost savings can be found.

“I know we (town) can do the project cheaper,” stated Councillor Kevin Woestenenk.

Council was told that the engineers recommended the town not do the job on its own for several reasons, one being liability issues. And if the town were to decide to do the work on its own  now, it would mean having to go through the lengthy tender process once again while work has to be completed this year as per the funding agreements.

“It is not feasible for us to do this ourselves, this is not our expertise,” stated Councillor Dan Osborne.

“I disagree a little,” said Councillor Woestenenk. He said the Corbiere Brothers based out of M’Chigeeng, and H and R. Noble Construction have done work previously and their prices and the work they have done has been what the town wanted. He agreed some of the costs in the winning tender bid can be reduced.

“I know we can do this cheaper. I know a retired civil engineer that I talked to today that said he could take this project on,” said Councillor Woestenenk.

“We could hire Corbieres or Nobles to do this work,” said Councillor Woestenenk. “The numbers we’ve received are high and here we have a company from Sudbury three hours away doing this work. They are coming to make money, not help us. This is a lot of money. I’m looking at some of the costs in the contract-for instance $80,000 for gravel in base paving. It’s high. They are going to make a lot of money off of us. I just wish we could do more on our own.”

Councillor Larry Eirikson asked if the town can go back to the government for additional assistance.

Ms. Clarke said she is sure the government won’t give the town more funding for the project, as the funding was provided as part of a number of large scale projects being funded in the province.

“I would go back and tell them the estimates are too high,” said Councillor Eirikson.

“I will,” said Ms. Clarke, who explained, “I’m not confident we will receive more money from the government. Our initial application was made three years ago and prices for supplies have all increased.” However, she said that R.V. Anderson is also questioning some of the lump sum estimates in the winning tender bid and that she is going to be inquiring about those figures.

Mayor Ron Lane noted the town has   received provincial funding, but inquired as to whether the funds promised under the federal-provincial Clean Water Waste Water Fund have been provided for the project.

This funding has not been confirmed as of yet, council was told.

“So the bidders tendered their costs knowing that Part B of the project (Eleanor Street) might not happen (without funding),”said Mayor Lane.

Mayor Lane said one way or another,  “we need to get shovels in the ground on this project, we don’t want to be doing this work in the winter.”

Council considered and approved a  motion to approve the lowest tender, Lacroix Construction, with discussions being held with the company to hopefully reduce some of the costs. And the work on Eleanor Street will only take place if funding is provided by the Clean Water Waste Water Fund.

Council also agreed to make up the shortfall in funds by taking funds out of its water reserves,  and paying it back. No decision was made on how low the town would take to replenish the funds.

Gore Bay has received up to $1,521,967 from the OCIF for the replacement of the existing water main along Phipps Street.  The replacement of the existing water main takes in all of Phipps Street, and includes in the work on a new water line, replacement of curbs, an inspection of sewer and if needed additional fire hydrants being installed.