It has been a very difficult and frustrating time for the citizens of Wetaskiwin in recent months when trying to connect the dots from A to B without running into a DETOUR sign or PEDESTRIAN WALKWAY sign. Want to pick up some paint at Hansen’s Paint and then go to Fas Gas across the street to fill up with gas. Or go to RBC to do some banking just across the tracks to the west. Well, if you are driving, plan on going to C, D, E, F and G to get from A to B for at least a couple more weeks until at least one intersection at the corner by Mickey’s Flowers and Caelin Artworks is once again, opened to traffic on a gravel base.
Although rainy weather and soil contamination (which was discovered between 48 Street and 49 Street) have challenged timelines, City Manager, Ted Gillespie, assured the Mayor and Aldermen at the July 23rd, 2012 meeting that the Main Street Revitalization Project and the Aquatic Project are progressing according to plan. The following is the update presented by City Manger, Ted Gillespie.
Wetaskiwin Council Update Monday 23rd of July: Main Street Revitalization
Estimated Schedule based on the recent outcome of the Environmental Assessment our current schedule is:
• Enviro West aiming to have approval from Alberta Environment by Monday 30th of July. (severity of the soil contamination discovered between 48th and 49th Street).
• Intersection at 48th Street anticipated to be open in two and half weeks.
• Intersections at 49th and 50th Street expected to be open by September 14.
• The contract completion date of mid to end of October 2012 is anticipated to be met.
Key progress updates:
• The majority of the underground services are installed.
• Compaction of gravel base has been carried out at 48th Street intersection.
• This week concrete is being poured at 48th Street intersection.
• Testing and analysis has been completed on the Environmental contamination which was discovered between 48 Street and 49 Street.
• The contamination appears to be much less than originally feared.
• An environmental action plan has been submitted to Alberta Environment for approval. We hope to have the plan approved by Monday July 30th.
• Once an approved plan is in place, work will be able to proceed in this area. The action plan will likely require the protection of the newly installed watermain, and some limited soil removal.
• Installation of the four pipe casings under the CP Railway is almost complete.
• Cobra are now completing the final “Tie-in’s” are now being completed for the Storm, Sanitary, Water, and electrical between 49 Street and 50 Street under the CP Rail.
• Pedestrian access is improving and additional signage is being installed including way finding for pedestrians at intersections.
• Full two page Ad in the paper (Wetaskiwin Times) was well received (weekly).
• Newsletters are being sent out regularly to everyone who showed interest in the project at the open houses – and all the local business’s.
• Radio Advertisements are broadcast on 1440 and 98.1 advising that businesses are open.
• Businesses in the area are continually being advised by the contractors and team of progress updates and responding to concerns raised.
• Additional communication strategies are being worked on (e.g. social media).
• Carmacks Crews are working 6 days per week generally 7am to 7pm.
• Cobra Crews are working 5 days per week (company policy) Starting at 8:00am and finishing at 5:30pm or whenever the task is complete – sometimes late at night.
• Work between 48 Street and 49 Street was delayed during the environmental investigation – this was not the fault of the contractor. Once the contamination was identified, no more work could be done without Alberta Environment Approval.
• While steps are taken each night to “weatherproof” the site, rain overnight can delay work. While some work can proceed efficiently in wet weather – other work can not.
• We are actively seeking to find a location on Main Street to display the design features and create another avenue for obtaining information updates.
• A number of actions are being carried out to improve communication with businesses and the public – including Twitter notifications.
• We are working on holding an event upon completion of the first phase within the street.
• We are working on getting a Phase 1 environmental site assessment complete for the remaining street to identify early in the process of any potential issues in latter stages.
• We are working on a communication strategy to prepare business owners and the community for Phase 2.
WETASKIWIN REGIONAL AQUATIC FACILITY COUNCIL UPDATE – JULY 23, 2012
The new Aquatic Centre was planned back in 2010, Council approved the construction and the funding formula (sources of funding) and in July of 2013 the City will be the official owners of the new Wetaskiwin Regional Aquatic Facility. City Council was assured by City Manager, Ted Gillespie, that the construction is on schedule and on budget.
• PCL Construction advise they are currently on schedule to turn the facility over to the City in July, 2013.
• This would allow a fall opening.
• Work has been focused on the underground tanks and basement areas.
• The first steel columns will be going up next week (3)…followed by masonry work on some walls.
• The contractor to date has been very cooperative. Project is on schedule and on budget.
In Issue #10 of the Genivar newsletter, the Main Street Engineers thanked, “all of the business owners who have been impacted by the construction activities. Local business is the foundation of the Main Street and Wetaskiwin community”.
They further explain, “There is still plenty of parking near and along Main Street. Although 50A Avenue is closed to traffic between 48 and 50 Street, there is still parking along Main Street up to the construction limits. Additionally, there is plenty of parking along the adjacent side streets, which will leave you only a short walk away from all that Main Street has to offer”.
The Main Street Revitalization Project and the Wetaskiwin Regional Aquatic Centre are major investments that when completed, will undoubtedly contribute to the appeal of the City of Wetaskiwin. It’s gratifying to hear City Manager, Ted Gillespie announce that the projects are progressing as planned and the Aquatic Centre is on budget.
The challenge for the City in the ensuing months will be to manage the funding formulas and budgets to avoid any additional costs beyond the approved budgets until the opening of the Aquatic Centre in July, 2013 and 4 phases of the Main Street Revitalization are complete.
For more information about either of the projects, contact City Manager, Ted Gillespie, at 780 361 4400. For specific information about the Main Street Revitalization project, contact Janis Fong, Engineering Manager 780. 410.6779.
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