Waterfront Development Project moves forward with alterations to reduce cost
Tim Brody - Editor
In a Special Council Meeting on June 3 held via videoconference, Sioux Lookout Municipal Council again discussed the Sioux Lookout Waterfront Development Project at Farlinger Park (the town beach), which had come in nearly a million dollars over budget using the lowest bidder for the project.
Council voted to award the contract for the Sioux Lookout Waterfront Development Project to RJ Concrete and Construction Ltd., in the amount of $1,705,301.67 + HST; and further Council authorized the passing of By-law No. 53-20, Being a By-law to Authorize the Mayor and the Clerk to Execute an Agreement Between The Corporation of the Municipality of Sioux Lookout and RJ Concrete and Construction Ltd. For the Sioux Lookout Waterfront Development Project; and further Council authorized a transfer from the Infrastructure Reserve Fund in an amount of $602,201 to the operating fund to offset the additional project costs for this project; and further Council directed that all Municipal Accommodation Tax revenues received be used to replenish the Infrastructure Reserve Fund until the $609,201 is recovered.
In the planning stages since 2017, Jody Brinkman, Manager of Development Services, shared in his report to council, “The initial draft design brief prepared by Keewatin-Aski was based on the conceptual design completed by HTFC Planning and Design (formerly Hilderman, Thomas, Frank and Cram). Unfortunately, the initial estimates for construction was three times more than the original estimates and budget available. The Municipality and Keewatin-Aski then worked together to alter the scope of the project to bring cost to an acceptable level without affecting the overall goals of the finished project. As a result, the rock breakwall was eliminated and the extent of the development was reduced to cover a smaller area.”
Subsurface infrastructure for the project was installed last fall using a combination of utility reserves and funding dollars, Brinkman noted in his report adding that the floating dock system was installed utilizing funding dollars.
Of the project’s original budget of $2,898,000 (actual now $3,507,201), to date $1,571,719 has been spent. Funds spent thus far have included floating docks - $440,889, civil works - $690,817, demolitions - $10,867, and engineering and other fees - $429,146. An additional $50,000 in engineering costs remains to be paid.
This left $1,276,281 to complete the project. Using the lowest bidder for the project still resulted in a shortfall of $953,018.
Concerned about this shortfall, Council deferred their decision on this project at their last council meeting, asking staff to work with the engineer for the project, Keewatin-Aski Ltd. Consulting Engineers, to reduce costs, while still maintaining the overall vision for the project.
Brinkman shared in his report, “Staff met with our consultant Keewatin-Aski to go over the details of the project, based (on) Council feedback at the May 20th meeting we have made the following changes:
- Revise In-floor heat to electric baseboards and replace wall tiles with a suitable more economical hard, cleanable surface
- Maintain the entirety of the boardwalk
- Reduction in the guards (railing) to safety needs only
- Reduce lighting but maintain outlets
- Include an allowance for paving and tender outside of this contract in an effort to reduce costs
- Altered the footbridge area to reduce cost
- Reduced the scope of the “Nature Play Area”
- Replaced picnic area mulch with topsoil and seed
- Reduce the amount of trees and shrubs
- Reduce the amount of built in benches
- Deleted the lifeguard chair
- Deleted all signage
- Deleted the kayak kiosk
- Reduce the amount rip rap (rocks of similar size and type placed on a steep slope for aesthetic and erosion control purposes) and beach sand
- Reduce material testing allowance
- Delete electronic messaging board
These changes resulted in a savings of $343,997 from the tendered price, but still leaves the project $609,201 over budget.
The project’s current funding breakdown is as follows:
- Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation - $1,000,000
- FedNor - $1,000,000
- Original Municipal contribution - $898,000 to be paid through long term debt
- The remaining $ 609,201 will be paid through the Municipality’s Infrastructure Reserve Fund
- Councillors discussed at length the merits of Thermowood (originally proposed) versus pressure treated lumber (newly proposed in the interest of cost savings) for the boardwalk decking, electing to go with pressure treated lumber.
Councillors also elected to remove the kayak kiosk originally proposed as part of the project.
Councillors also decided to leave the cenotaph where it is, rather than move it down to the boardwalk as the project originally proposed.
A major concern on the minds of Councillors was whether or not proposed changes to the project might impact funding from NOHFC or FedNor.
Municipal CAO Michelle Larose informed, “To date, our funding partners have not advised of any concerns regarding Option 4 (the option council chose), however, we are still awaiting a formal reply from these agencies. If the funders require further changes (i.e., to include additional items that have been removed from the scope of the project pursuant to Option 4), then this matter would be brought back to Council to discuss the changes and how to fund the reintroduction of such items into the project scope.”
The Waterfront Development Project will include an outdoor stage, playground similar to the ones located at the Travel Information Centre and on Seventh Avenue, a picnic area and natural play area, a multipurpose building which will include a washroom with highly durable furnishings, storage, and a small administrative area, lighting, outlets to better allow for markets and events at the beach, as well as a boardwalk.