Cecelia Street project under scrutiny 0
Work continues on Cecelia Street in Pembroke to upgrade the underground infrastructure and resurface the road however the cost of the project has become a bit of a moving target. The $5 million project came under the scrutiny of council this week when city staff came forward seeking approval for another $154,800. For more community photos please visit our website photo gallery at www.thedailyobserver.ca.
With costs increasing on the reconstruction of Cecelia Street, Mayor Ed Jacyno is asking where is the protection for the city and the taxpayers when a project goes over budget.
The anticipated $5 million endeavour once more came under council scrutiny Tuesday night when staff came forward seeking approval for another $154,800.
Council learned that design work will be required for underground infrastructure extended from Cecilia Street onto side streets, including Supple, Herbert and Esther streets. Designs were also revised for the storm outlet at Nelson Street and the Kinsmen Pool parking lot.
Due to several issues encountered during construction, contract and field administration, contract management and geotechnical testing, changed.
“Cecilia Street is a very complex project,” explained Mr. Sitland. “It is the equivalent of 12 blocks of street with major infrastructure throughout, not only our own infrastructure but gas and utilities.”
A second inspector was also required on site to look into underground infrastructure issues related to existing conditions, he added. Construction had to be extended to the side streets to pick up corners and landscaping was needed outside the pool.
He noted Cecilia has required the largest storm sewer installed by the city and that it is being laid down a significant slope.
“As time went on this project evolved,” said Mr. Sitland.
The new expenditures include $29,737 for additional engineering design and $125,062 for follow-up contract administration which will be paid to consulting firm Genivar. Previously, the city had approved $85,337 for engineering design services for Genivar.
The revelation that additional money is needed to finish Cecilia Street didn’t sit well with Mayor Jacyno.
“I thinks that’s a lot of money,” he said. “I understand that we may discover some things that come out of left field, but I have a hard time with that. Can we not talk to these people and adjust the price? I just find it a little hard to swallow.”
Mr. Sitland responded that in no way is staff going easy on the design consultants and have been diligent in asking for a full accounting of the changes. He said there are ways to cut costs, such as eliminate materials testing for the balance of the project, but he wouldn’t advise it.
“I can appreciate that it is a significant cost but again the overall scope, this being a $5 million project, one would anticipate that the design, construction and administration costs would be in the order of 15 per cent which is $750,000 and we are well under that,” he said. “We are most of the way through the project and we do not anticipate anymore significant issues or challenges.”
Other members of council conceded they didn’t like to see unforeseen costs come up during a project.
“It is a lot of money to ask for in the middle of a project but we have this project on the go and we have to complete it,” said Councillor Bob Hackett.
However, Councillor Terry O’Neill remarked that Pembroke is an aging city with infrastructure and the municipality has to move with the times.
“It’s an old city and it has old streets and we have to upgrade,” said Coun. O’Neill. “If you want these things done properly, you have to pay.”
Mayor Jacyno proposed that council enact a spending cap on future projects in order to keep contractors within the monetary guidelines they agreed to so the municipality will not be billed for unforeseen contingencies.
“Contract firms have to take on a certain amount of risk,” said Mayor Jacyno.
The final cost of the Cecilia Street project is still expected to come in between $5.8 million and $5.9 million.
Sean Chase is a Daily Observer multimedia journalist