10 firms vying for Tantramar logo & branding contract worth up to $60K

Assistant Clerk Becky Goodwin (L) hands envelope containing one of the branding proposals to Clerk Donna Beal as town managers Kieran Miller and Michael Beal look on

The Town of Tantramar has received proposals from 10 companies hoping to win the contract to design a municipal logo and help the town develop its “brand.”

Clerk Donna Beal opened the boxes containing the proposals at 11 a.m. today and read out the company names that were later posted on the Tantramar website.

The town has set aside up to $60,000 for the branding contract which will be submitted to council for approval after the proposals have been evaluated by town staff.

On March 8, the town issued a request for proposals (RFP) stipulating that aside from designing a logo, the successful company would be required to create key marketing messages, submit recommendations for names on highway signs and provide residents with a chance to have their say on the creation of  “a new visual identity for Tantramar.”

To read the RFP, click here.

Here are the companies that submitted proposals:

1. Cinnamon Toast Marketing Agency based in Ottawa and Hamilton, Ontario. It’s website says: “We passionately protest mediocrity. By capturing moments, illuminating ideas, and mobilizing stories in a distinct and memorable way, we propel our clients’ purpose, intensify their impact, and exceed their expectations for best-in-class creative services.”

2. The Details Design describes itself as a “full-service design and strategy agency based in Fredericton, New Brunswick. We help business and organizations elevate their brand and connect with their audiences.”

3. Trajectory Brands Inc. of Toronto says: “We work with purpose-driven organizations to fuel their success through holistic brand strategies, compelling stories, stakeholder engagement, experience design and powerful community-building tools.”

4. Portfolio Solutions Group based in Moncton describes itself as “not your typical consulting firm, management consulting or marketing and communications agency. We deliver on that USP with our results-driven work. We are issue identifiers that think it through, strategy experts that understand that you can’t execute successfully without it and flawless executers of all of the above for clients across the globe.”

5. Cossette Communications Inc. has offices in Quebec City, Montreal, Toronto, Halifax and Vancouver. It’s website says: “We are a strategic partner, gathering experts across all disciplines to offer integrated brand experiences unlike any other. We play with powerful, high-potential brands, and act local, with global impact. We’ve led the way in the Canadian marketplace for nearly 50 years.”

6. Peach Marketing based in Dieppe says it is “a branding, design and production agency that helps brands define their stories. Our speciality lies in creating brands together; either from the ground up or when bold creativity is needed to help clients tap into their potential.”

7. Marmalade Advertising of Halifax designs hats, apparel and packaging. Its website says: “The quality of your merch & design is tied to your brand’s reputation…Hats and apparel are great with branded logos, but they’ll fly off the shelves with a custom, unique design. With a combined 30 years of design experience, we’ve got you covered.”

8. Sitch Agency of “no-fixed-address” describes itself as “a brand-centric marketing agency for forward thinkers.” Its website says it was founded by two agency veterans who have worked together for more than a decade. “Whether you want to carve out a unique position in the market, improve your digital platforms or communicate more effectively, we’ve got you covered.”

9. Sequence (also called CQNS) is based in Dundas, Ontario. Its website says it provides “Strategy, Design and Marketing for Economic Development” and that its partners blend all these skills because “traditional agencies, while well versed in marketing and design, lacked the specific subject matter expertise required to develop economic development strategy and content that drives results. And Economic development consultants, despite their deep industry insight, are not good marketers.”

10. Posh Media describes itself as “a Canadian company made up of diverse talent from coast to coast.” Its website says: “posh media is more than a full-service bilingual marketing firm. It is a meeting place of strategy, design and experiences. We build growth strategies for established businesses and emerging brands to help them win in a digital world.”

Posted in Town of Tantramar | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Tantramar council approves $3.8 million capital budget with $185K electric Zamboni

Zamboni smooths ice after lunchtime skate today at Civic Centre

The plan to replace the old, propane-powered Zamboni at Sackville’s Civic Centre with a new $185,000 electric one was one of the highlights as Tantramar Town Council approved a 2023 capital budget yesterday of just over $3.8 million.

Council authorized just over $2.5 million in potential borrowing mainly for water and sewer projects in Sackville and Dorchester as well as an $800,000 fire truck in Dorchester.

Almost $1.3 million in capital spending will be paid for out of tax revenues. Aside from replacing the Zamboni, $200,000 has been allocated for a new sidewalk plow in Sackville with money for paving projects and fire department gear in both Sackville and Dorchester along with building maintenance, including development of a new fire hall in Dorchester and remediation of the village offices there, closed because of poor air quality.

But in the long list of storm sewer upgrades, culvert replacements and equipment purchases, replacement of the propane-powered Zamboni stood out.

Acting Treasurer Michael Beal

“It has reached its end of useful life,” Acting Treasurer Michael Beal told council. “It was purchased in 2004 when we opened our Civic Centre, which is nearly 20 years ago.”

He added that a new $185,000 electric ice resurfacing machine would fit with the municipality’s ongoing green initiatives.

But Councillor Bruce Phinney, a persistent green skeptic, had questions.

“I’m curious to know, how much is the cost of a regular Zamboni, propane-wise, as compared to $185 (thousand) for the electric?” Phinney asked.

Todd Cole, manager of parks and facilities, answered that propane ones are approximately $25,000 to $30,000 cheaper than electric Zambonis.

“It’s not good for the environment, so we’re certainly looking at switching to electric,” Cole said, adding that the town is looking at everything it buys in light of climate change.

“I’m asking because of the fact that the power rates are going up,” Phinney said. “So, what’s the trade-off in the cost of electricity as compared to propane?”

Michael Beal answered that propane costs fluctuate too.

“The other aspect I would say with that as well, we’re burning propane on the inside of a closed-in facility, so the fact that running an electric machine versus the propane fumes would be a benefit,” Beal added.

(A Health Canada study concludes that in arenas across the country, electric ice resurfacers are the most effective way of eliminating deadly carbon monoxide as well as nitrogen oxides linked to asthma and other respiratory illnesses.)

Other municipalities

Councillor Bruce Phinney

When Phinney asked if town staff had looked at other places with electric Zambonis, Todd Cole answered that he learned at a recreation facilities conference that a lot of rinks, including the one in Amherst, have switched to electric.

He said that some municipalities have gone past first-generation electric Zambonis to second-generation ones with much improved, longer-lasting batteries.

“Quispamsis, for example, I was speaking to them and they’re very impressed with the new Zamboni,” Cole added.

(CBC reported recently that although electric Zambonis are more expensive to buy, they’re  cheaper to operate and maintain and are therefore, easier on municipal budgets.)

Michael Beal said the town would evaluate whether to send the propane-powered Zamboni to replace a much older machine that resurfaces the outdoor rink in Dorchester.

“The Dorchester one is about 40 years old,” he said, adding it might make sense to send Sackville’s Zamboni to Dorchester where it would be used less frequently.

Former LSDs

So far, the former LSDs have not been included in this year’s capital budget except for $85,100 that is being set aside in a reserve fund for the purchase of a new fire truck for Point de Bute in 2029.

However, Beal pointed to an extra $73,935 that Tantramar will receive from the federal gas tax fund because of amalgamation.

“What are the projects within local service districts that we could spend that money on other than roads because roads are a provincial responsibility?” he asked.

“We’re going to put our thinking caps on, if anybody has any suggestions or recommendations, then bring them forward,” Beal said.

“We will look to that over the next month or two and bring back [a] recommendation as soon as we have something on that.”

Posted in Environment, Town of Tantramar | Tagged | 1 Comment

New play about weathering COVID-19 premieres in Sackville marking pandemic’s 3rd anniversary

Writer, director Charlie Rhindress

On the third anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic, Tantramar residents are being invited to a free performance of Charlie Rhindress’s new play, We’re  Still Here: Tales from 2020 and Beyond.

The premiere is happening at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 22, at the Sackville Legion on Lorne Street. It’s a collaboration between Festival By the Marsh and Live Bait Theatre.

“When I was first asked to do the show, I thought to myself, is anyone going to really want to come and see a show about COVID?” Rhindress asks with a smile.

“We just lived through it, you know, it’s stressful and depressing.”

But, when he met with the seven actors in the play to talk things over, he was surprised at how the pandemic triggered memories.

” I think there’s something really valuable in reliving the experience,” he says.

Interview transcripts

Rhindress, who has written more than a dozen plays including The Maritime Way of Life and Flying On Her Own about singer Rita MacNeil, explains that We’re  Still Here is partly based on two dozen interviews with Atlantic Canadians.

Festival by the Marsh received a federal grant to hire students to conduct the interviews starting in May 2020 shortly after the pandemic began.

Rhindress and his cast used the 600 pages of transcripts to create a play that is at times both moving and funny.

“In some ways, I think we follow the path of COVID. It starts out quite serious and people are kind of scared and then people are learning to open up again and to reconnect and I think the show follows that journey,” he says.

“There’s a section about a woman who lost her brother…It’s quite a moving monologue that she delivered during the interview, so there’s stuff that’s kind of heart breaking and then there’s stuff that’s frustrating…and then, there’s other stuff that’s funny.”

COVID words & conspiracy theories

Actors Andrew Ennals (L) Ron Kelly Spurles (C) and Paul Brisk Jr. (R) rehearse a scene about COVID words. Actor James Hand appears in the background

In one scene, the actors joke about the terms people learned during the pandemic including CERB, social distancing, flattening the curve, co-morbidity, quarantini, a.k.a “Papa stay-sane-juice” and essential worker, “that’s the staff at the liquor store and the bartenders at Ducky’s.”

Another scene reflects concerns expressed in the interviews about COVID conspiracy theories.

“A lot of people were disappointed in the people they knew well who weren’t willing to go along with the science,” Rhindress says.

“[They] were shocked at the people who didn’t believe it.”

A character in the play asserts confidently that there’s a proven link between COVID and 5G cellular networks as other characters listen skeptically.

Mainstream media won’t talk about how the 5G causes brain cancer and they can use it for mind control. This whole thing started in Wuhan, China. Did you know that’s where the first 5G towers went up?…

Oh yeah, you gotta get on the Internet, do your research, it’s all there. That’s why they locked us up, so we wouldn’t see them puttin’ up more 5G towers…

They’re tryin’ to decrease the surplus population.

‘Hands, washing hands’

Heather MacIntyre (C) and Carley Varner-Joudrey (R) with Erin Lewis rear (L) and James Hand

The play also includes an emotional COVID song — Sweet Quarantine — set to a famous tune.

“Actually, Neil Diamond took his song Sweet Caroline and early in the pandemic, went online and did a version where he talked about washing hands and so we actually took that, the Neil Diamond thing, and changed a few more words,” Rhindress says.

Hands, washing hands

Reaching out, don’t touch me

I won’t touch you.

Sweet Quarantine

I’ve been confined

Just within my neighbourhood…

Rhindress feels his play ends with an inspirational message.

“I didn’t make any of this up,” he says.

“The last lines of the play are from an interview and someone said something about, you know, we’re human and we’re creative and we survived because we’re resilient and that’s what we do and that’s the note that the show ends on.”


After its Sackville premiere on Wednesday, the play moves to CCUBIC on Ratchford Street in Amherst on Friday, March 24 followed by admission-free performances in Fredericton on Saturday and in Miramichi on Sunday, March 26.

For more information or to book free  tickets, click on Festival By the Marsh or call (506)-940-2248.

To listen to my CHMA radio report on Charlie Rhindress’s new play, click here.

Posted in Arts, COVID-19 | 3 Comments

Tantramar Council following strict provincial limits on public presentations

Sabine Dietz, executive director of Climatlantic

Tantramar Council is following a provincially drafted bylaw that makes it harder for members of the public to make detailed presentations during regular town council meetings.

The bylaw, imposed on the town of Tantramar as part of municipal reform, also does not include public question periods as part of council’s agenda even though the municipality of Sackville included such question periods both at the beginning and end of its regular council meetings for more than two decades.

The restrictions stood out last night as former Sackville Councillor Sabine Dietz rushed through a presentation introducing Climatlantic, a new organization set up by the four Atlantic provinces and the federal government, to help people understand and deal with the effects of  climate change.

“I know I’ve got five minutes,” she said, “I was told that, to be fairly quick.”

Dietz, who is executive director of Climatlantic, quickly explained that  the organization’s specialists are there to help people with such climate effects as flooding, heat, drought and sea-level rise.

“That’s why we were created, to help people make better decisions,” she told council.

“We moderate meetings, webinars, training, we are spread out all across Atlantic Canada, my team has a specialist in each of the provinces…and we’ve got a core team that really is well trained in understanding the climate impacts and the projections and helping identify what you really need to think about when you make decisions.”

Hurried information

Dietz showed a slide with contact info for Climatlantic

As her words tumbled out, Dietz referred to a set of graphs she had distributed to councillors showing that Sackville will probably have more of what she called “growing degree days” and a longer “frost-free season” meaning that farmers and residents will be able to grow more on the one hand, but on the other, another graph showing “cooling degree days” suggests they will face higher heating costs that will cause hardship, especially for those on low incomes.

Dietz then quickly referred to “days with T-max” when temperatures rise above 30 degrees, days that can kill people during heat waves — a trend that she said is increasing in Sackville.

“So, I would really recommend to council to not put climate change action on the back burner; this needs to remain a high priority for council.”

She also warned that when Tantramar applies for federal infrastructure money, it will be required to report on its efforts to adapt to climate change.

Five minute blitz

Dietz showed this slide as she urged people to sign up for Climatlantic’s newsletter (click to enlarge)

“Was that more than five minutes?” Dietz asked as she finished her presentation.

“It was,” Mayor Black answered. “Maybe about a minute-and-a-half over but, being on council with you in the past, I remember you speaking very quickly.”

“Sorry about that, but I knew I had five minutes,” Dietz said.

“Lots of information in a small amount of time,” Black answered.

“Are there any questions on the presentation for Ms. Dietz?” he asked council.


“I was really hoping for questions,” Dietz said to general laughter.

“Maybe people are just scared and reeling about the information you give,” Black answered with a smile.

Public disengagement

In an e-mail to Warktimes today, Dietz writes that she feels the five-minute time limit shows disengagement from the public as does the lack of a public question period.

“I left early because I didn’t see any option to ask questions, which I would have,” she adds.

“For example, when are they re-forming the climate change committee and when are they hiring personnel, etc.?”


Note: When the municipality of Tantramar came into being on January 1, 2023, it inherited a set of standardized bylaws imposed by the province. Bylaw No. 3 is entitled: A BYLAW RESPECTING THE PROCEEDINGS OF TANTRAMAR MUNICIPAL COUNCIL AND COMMITTEE MEETINGS. Here is the link in the bylaws sections of the Tantramar website: https://sackville.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/02/By-law-No.-3-Procedural-REV-FINAL-FOR-SIGNATURE.pdf

The bylaw contains a standard agenda with no public question periods and here is the section on presentations at regular council meetings:

Posted in Environment, Town of Tantramar | Tagged | 18 Comments

DTI mum on Sackville bridge damage & repairs

Photo shows damage to bottom flange of bridge girder above westbound lane of TransCanada Hwy

In spite of repeated requests for information over a three-day period, New Brunswick’s department of transportation and infrastructure (DTI) isn’t saying anything to Warktimes about damage to one of Sackville’s busiest bridges.

The local RCMP detachment has confirmed that at 1:53 p.m. on February 3rd, a transport truck with an “oversized load” struck the underside of the TransCanada Highway overpass on Main Street near Exit 504.

The truck was travelling in the westbound lane toward Moncton when the accident occurred. The Mounties say it sustained damages of more than $1,000 and no charges were laid.

So far, DTI has responded by placing concrete barriers on the west side of the overpass.

‘Perfectly safe’

“From my personal bridge experience, it is perfectly safe for people to continue to use the bridge,” Tantramar Town Engineer Jon Eppell told councillors at their meeting on Monday.

He was responding to a question from Councillor Michael Tower about the extent of the damage and when DTI would be fixing it.

Eppell said DTI had notified the town that a truck had struck the overpass.

“It damaged the bottom flange of one of the girders and has caused some out-of-plane distortion there,” he added.

Image showing bent I-beam on underside of bridge. Photo: Percy Best

Eppell said the damage will need to be repaired so that it doesn’t result in metal fatigue over time.

He added that DTI would develop a “repair methodology” before implementing it.

“Could include heat straightening, not sure at this stage, but that’s DTI’s to deal with,” he said.

Tantramar resident Percy Best, who has done similar work, took several photos of the damage on Friday.

“The top of the bent I-beam on the bridge is fine, but the bottom one is severely mangled as far as offering any tension (or pulling apart) strength and it is quite close to the middle of the span, so it is VERY important that it not be compromised at this point,” he writes in an e-mail to Warktimes.

“That is the part of the beam that will have to be repaired and reinforced.”

Best added he agrees that the beam could be straightened with extreme heat.

“Time will tell how they fix the mess, though,” he writes.

Note: Warktimes will update this story if DTI responds to requests for more information.

Photo shows concrete barriers on west side of highway overpass

Posted in New Brunswick government, Town of Tantramar | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Tantramar hopes to spend $10K to help recruit doctors for Sackville Memorial

Senior Manager Kieran Miller

It appears that the new Town of Tantramar will continue providing financial support to help recruit the doctors needed to restore 24/7 emergency room services at Sackville Memorial Hospital.

Kieran Miller, director of community and corporate services, says that last year, Sackville town council allocated $10,000 to help community volunteers and the Horizon Health Network recruit doctors using such tools as a marketing study and a recruitment website.

Although this year’s budget was set by the province, Miller indicated during today’s Tantramar council meeting that she expects the money will still be available.

“We haven’t seen a detailed version of the budget, but I don’t see why that $10,000 wouldn’t still be there,” she said.

“It was very useful last year and I would hope to continue it this year.”

Progress report

Earlier, members of the Rural Health Action Group reported to council on the progress made since February 2020 when local community leaders vowed to fight the Higgs government’s plan to cut overnight emergency room services as well as day surgeries and short-term, acute-care beds at Sackville Memorial.

The minority Conservative government soon backed down, but Sackville Memorial’s future remained uncertain in the face of declining staff morale and resignations as well as the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Margaret Tusz-King addressing Tantramar Council on behalf of the Rural Health Action Group

Margaret Tusz-King told council that recruitment efforts have been paying off.

She said 19 of 24 nurses are now in place, although the emergency room still needs four more doctors and two more nurses to offer 24-hour service. The ER is now scheduled to operate daily from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Tusz-King said the Action Group has been working collaboratively with Horizon Health to maintain and improve hospital services while also seeking additional health services in the community.

Last month, Horizon announced $2 million in capital improvements at Sackville Memorial including renovations to the existing operating room and construction of a second one to provide orthopedic surgeries such as hip and knee replacements.

Horizon has also just completed renovations to the Sackville ER to repair damage caused by extensive flooding last fall.

Community voice

Tusz-King told council that the Action Group is now intent on making sure the community has a greater say in how the hospital is run.

“We know that health care is still precarious,” she said, adding that getting a voice for the community in decision making is a big issue.

“People who have long enough memories know that our hospital was built by the community; it was run by the community; the community had a voice and that hasn’t been present there for a long time.”

Posted in Health care, Town of Tantramar | Tagged , | 4 Comments

Greg Martin elected Tantramar deputy mayor; council approves $5 million flood project

Greg Martin speaks of his surprise at his “sudden” election as Tantramar deputy mayor

Ward 5 councillor Greg Martin is the deputy mayor of the new Town of Tantramar.

“I’m very, very proud, excited, many emotions right now,” Martin said after Tantramar council elected him to be Mayor Andrew Black’s deputy.

He said he was “surprised” at the “sudden” decision after he defeated former Dorchester Mayor Debbie Wiggins-Colwell in a 5-4 vote.

“I’ve said this before,” he said, “my mum would be very, very proud. She would say to me, ‘Well done, son.'”

Martin, who represents the former Point de Bute LSD, was supported by Mayor Andrew Black and councillors Michael Tower, Allison Butcher, Josh Goguen and himself while councillors Matt Estabrooks, Bruce Phinney, Barrie Hicks and Wiggins-Colwell voted for her.

The deputy mayor is paid $28,380 — $4,730 more than the $23,650 councillors receive.

Council approves flood control project

Diagram of flood control project showing quarry pond (upper left), existing St. James St. retention pond (centre red), new pond behind community gardens (blue) with ditches, culverts and drains to move the water from pond to pond and out to the Tantramar River near Sackville’s sewage lagoons (click to enlarge)

Meantime, Tantramar Town Council approved a $5 million contract today for the final phase of the Lorne Street flood control project.

It involves constructing another water retention pond behind the community gardens on Charles Street as well as digging ditches and installing pipes and culverts under roads and the CN rail line to carry stormwater to the Tantramar River for discharge at low tide.

Councillor Bruce Phinney

Councillor Bruce Phinney cast the sole vote against awarding the contract.

“If we haven’t got a commitment from the provincial government to change the aboiteau, then I think it’s a waste of money,” Phinney told council.

He was referring to a new, double-gated aboiteau that would drain stormwater from the project’s three ponds into the Tantramar River.

So far, the province hasn’t agreed to install a new aboiteau to replace a much smaller one in the dyke near Sackville’s sewage lagoons.

At an earlier council meeting on Monday, both Town Engineer Jon Eppell and Englobe engineering consultant Pierre Plourde said the project would be viable without a new one.

“It would be desirable to have the aboiteau,” Eppell told reporters later, “but it’s not the end of the world if we don’t.”

Last July, however, Plourde told Sackville council that the project would need to be re-designed without the new aboiteau, but on Monday he said it could still go ahead without it, although he acknowledged that water from the retention ponds would drain more slowly.

Budget shortfall fixed

Meantime, council was told on Monday that a $566 thousand cost overrun would be eliminated partly by scrapping plans for building two pedestrian bridges on walking trails around the new pond and for planting about 25 trees.

The construction company Beale and Inch will also save money by starting the project in June instead of March.

Town Engineer Jon Eppell said the later construction schedule should not interfere with nesting birds.

He assured reporters that the three retention ponds would be able to store enough water to prevent downtown flooding in a one-in-100 year storm.

Acting Treasurer Michael Beal said the 40% federal and 33.33% provincial share of the funding would amount to a little over $4 million with the municipality picking up the remaining 26.67% or a little under $1.5 million.

He said the municipal share of the project is being funded solely by taxpayers in the former town of Sackville.

Now that council has awarded the contract, Eppell said the project should be completed by the end of the year.

Posted in Town of Tantramar | Tagged | 4 Comments

Higher property tax rates for Tantramar LSDs, with more coming

Acting Tantramar Treasurer Michael Beal

Higher property tax rates are on the way for residents in the three former local service districts around Sackville, Dorchester and Point de Bute, but the province has cushioned the blow by spreading the increases over five years.

In the 2023 budget it drafted for the new Town of Tantramar, the province set five separate property tax rates for the three former LSDs as well as for the former town of Sackville and village of Dorchester.

Acting Treasurer Michael Beal told Tantramar council today that based on the current costs of running the municipality, the province has recognized that taxes in the former LSDs will need to rise to cover the costs of local services such as police and garbage collection as well as shared services such as recreation.

“What the province has indicated is that there is a five-year implementation for our entity,” he said. “So, over those five years, the tax rate will change 20% a year roughly of what it should have changed to.”

Beal presented figures showing that in this year’s budget, for example, the province raised property tax rates in the former Sackville LSD by 8.3%.

It means that homeowners there will pay 92.4 cents per $100 of assessment up from last year’s rate of 85.3 cents.

The tax bill on a home assessed at $100,000 in the former Sackville LSD will be $924, up from $853 last year.

Homeowners in the former Point de Bute LSD will pay about $1.13 per $100 of assessment, up from about $1.11 last year, an increase of 1.8%, while the property tax rate in the former Dorchester LSD will rise 5.5% to just over $1.00, up from about 95 cents.

Beal said if the province had imposed the full property tax increase this year instead of over the next five, it would have meant homeowners in the former Sackville LSD would have faced an 80% increase; residents in the former Dorchester LSD would have seen their tax rates rise 48%; while property tax rates in the Point de Bute area would have risen 14%.

Although homeowners in Sackville and Dorchester will see slight decreases in their property tax rates this year, Beal said taxpayers in the former town and village are paying higher rates than they would have if residents in the former LSDs were covering their share of municipal costs.

He criticized the province for not providing transitional funding instead of requiring taxpayers in Sackville and Dorchester to cushion the former LSDs.

“So, essentially what you see with this is something we’ve been talking about for as long as I’ve been here, for almost 30 years, is that Sackville and Dorchester are supporting the local service districts with their tax rates being low,” Beal said.

“This will continue for a period of five years.”


Posted in Town of Tantramar | Tagged | 5 Comments

Sackville flood project more than $500K over budget unless changes are made

Acting Treasurer Michael Beal

Tantramar Town Council is scheduled to meet on Monday to hear a public presentation on Phase III of Sackville’s Lorne Street flood control project.

According to figures supplied to Warktimes by Acting Treasurer Michael Beal, the project could come in $566,905 over budget unless modifications are made to the final contract.

It calls for digging a retention pond behind the community gardens in the industrial park as well as installing culverts and digging ditches to drain stormwater into the Tantramar River.

On Wednesday, the town unveiled four bids on the project, the lowest from Beale and Inch for $5,608,516.

When that bid is added to contracts already awarded to the Moncton engineering firm Englobe and Beale and Inch for constructing a retention pond in the old Sackville quarry, the funds needed would exceed the amount currently available from all three levels of government:

Town Engineer Jon Eppell said Wednesday that council would receive a public presentation on the project before it votes on whether to approve it.

According to the agenda posted on the town’s website, there appears to be no opportunity for members of the public to ask questions at Monday’s meeting.

Budget presentation

Tantramar council will also receive a presentation Monday on the 2023 town budget that was imposed by the province as part of the municipal reform process.

Preliminary figures obtained by CHMA reporter Erica Butler show that property tax rates are up in the local service districts, but down slightly in Sackville and Dorchester.

To read her report, click here.

Posted in Town of Tantramar | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Sackville flood control project may run over budget

Town Engineer Jon Eppell

Tantramar Engineer Jon Eppell says he’s hoping to make a recommendation to town council next week on awarding the final contract for the third phase of the Lorne Street flood control project.

He made the comment today after Town Clerk Donna Beal opened the four tenders submitted for digging a big retention pond behind the public gardens on Charles Street as well as for installing culverts and digging ditches to drain the stormwater into the Tantramar River.

The project will include access roads that will double as hiking trails similar to the ones around the first retention pond south of St. James Street.

The local firm, Beale and Inch, submitted the lowest bid of $5,608,516.62 while the three remaining ones were each above $7 million: Birch Hill Construction of Moncton, $7,322,098.88; Gulf Operators of Saint John, $7,514,371.15 and Dexter Construction of Bedford, N.S., $7,913,150.00

Eppell said he’ll review the bids before submitting his recommendation for council’s approval. He added there will be a public presentation on the details of Phase III before council is asked to vote on it and the town plans to make information available on its website.

Costs exceed estimates

The Beale and Inch bid was $169,519.62 higher than the engineer’s estimate of $5,439,000.

Phase III includes construction of a smaller retention pond in the old Sackville quarry that the town purchased from Mt. A. for $1 in November.

Beale and Inch also submitted the lowest bid of $461,744.44 for the quarry project and Sackville town council awarded that contract last fall.

If the company’s latest bid for construction of the retention pond is accepted without any modifications, it would mean that the total construction cost of Phase III would reach $6,070,264.06 significantly higher than the $5,731,712 that has been budgeted for it.

In addition, the Moncton engineering firm Englobe has been awarded a $557,750 contract to design and oversee the project bringing total costs to $6,628,014.06.

The federal and provincial governments have agreed to pay about 75% of the budgeted costs, while the town pays the rest.

According to figures from Acting Treasurer Michael Beal, the total available funds for the project, including the town’s contribution, are $6,061,105 leaving a shortfall of $566,905.

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