The County of Wetaskiwin agreed to have an Alder Flats wastewater system project re-tendered after what was described as a communication breakdown during the Public Works council meeting July 23.
A delegation from WSP Engineering was at the meeting to present tender results for the Alder Flats Wastewater Collection System; only one company bid on the job and came in quite a bit more than councilors expected.
A council agenda memo from Director of Public Works Neil Powell stated, “At the June 19, 2018 Council for Public Works meeting Council was informed of a funding confirmation from Alberta Transportation, noting that the 2018/19 allocation of the Small Communities Fund (SCF) grant for the County of Wetaskiwin’s Alder Flats Lagoon expansion is $176,583.00.
“At the August 14, 2018 Council for Public Works meeting Council approved the local improvement plan for local wastewater collection lines for Alder Flats as presented.
“At the May 6, 2019 Council General Meeting, Council approved the 2019 Municipal Budget which included $1,104,220.00, under Capital Projects for the Hamlet of Alder Flats Wastewater Collection System.
“WSP Engineering Ltd. prepared tender documents for the construction and commissioning of a wastewater gravity collection system and lift station. The work includes earthworks, gravity main installation, force main installation, manhole installation, construction of a sewage lift station and twelve residential service connections.
“The tender was advertised on Alberta Purchasing Connection (APC), the local newspaper and the County website, closing July 18, 2019 at 2:00 pm.”
Powell stated that only one bid was received, from Parkway Enterprises, for $2,166,415.26, substantially more than the budgeted amount.
“The project was tendered in June 2019 with a close date of July 18, 2019; received was one bid of $2,166,415.26. In addition, WSP has revised their engineering budget to $317,743.38 which presents a project total of $2,484,158.64. Obviously, the total expected project costs of $2,484,158.64 far exceeds the values of $1,104,200 initially presented to the community of Alder Flats as part of the petition approval process.”
Two representatives of WSP Engineering were at the meeting, Frank Colosimo and Mike Mitchell. It was noted that landowners in the said area had to come up with 33 per cent of the project funding.
Councilor Kathy Rooyakkers stated she was disappointed in the tender results and it appeared to her the tender was sent out too late in the year, which probably affected bidders and prices.
Rooyakkers said she was also disappointed council only got summaries of tenders, not the actual tenders themselves, and that this situation appears to have “wasted a whole year.”
Councilor Lyle Seely stated he agreed with Rooyakker’s concerns.
Mitchell stated the engineers take problems like this seriously too. He said WSP got the results a few days before and started to investigate, but also noted the preliminary design of the wastewater system still needed factors such as site conditions, and that the County of Wetaskiwin prefers some products which are more expensive.
Colosimo agreed, stating, looking back, it was a general plan with some details not included and some additional things like enhanced products. He also said WSP is proud of the good relationship it has with the County of Wetaskiwin, and communication in this situation may not have been the best.
“We probably erred,” said Colosimo.
Mitchell said WSP should have had the higher estimate for council.
Seely said he was not happy about the situation and felt this [project should not have taken this long. Seely said the high bid wasn’t acceptable, as the taxpayers have already been quoted their share.
Colosimo said WSP was prepared to re-tender, and will do it free of charge as well.
Councilors unanimously agreed to re-tender the current project design this fall with a start next spring and a completion date in September, 2020.