Sackville Town Council has authorized Crandall Engineering of Moncton to redesign the second phase of the Lorne Street flood control project at an additional cost of $105,000.
Crandall’s initial designs had to be scrapped after bids on the project came in at around $6 million — nearly double the federal, provincial and town money that had been allocated for it.
During Monday’s meeting, Councillors Michael Tower, Bill Evans, Joyce O’Neil, Megan Mitton and Allison Butcher voted in favour of a motion to pay Crandall the extra fee on top of the thousands it has already received, while Deputy Mayor Ron Aiken along with Councillors Andrew Black and Bruce Phinney voted against it.
“If the engineering firm suggested it would cost three million or so,” Aiken told council, “and the contract proposals came in at twice that, it strikes me that they blew it pretty badly and I’m wondering why we’re giving them so much in additional fees to correct what was really their mistake.”
Councillor Black agreed.
“Paying an additional $105,000 to this company that Councillor Aiken said bungled the original approach, doesn’t make any sense to me at all,” Black said, adding later that the extra fee “seems crazy to me.”
Councillor Bill Evans seemed to speak for the majority who voted in favour of the motion when he noted that the town needed to come up with an alternate, affordable plan to mitigate the risk of downtown flooding.
“We’re going to do it differently,” Evans added. “I understand the frustration, but the alternative would be to lose the money that we’ve got from the federal government and not do anything.”
Extra pay for extra work
Town engineer Dwayne Acton suggested that Crandall was entitled to extra money because the new flood control plan will include several features not included in the original one requiring additional engineering and design work.
For one thing, he said, the new plan would likely add a retention pond in the old Sackville Quarry to prevent stormwater from flooding into downtown areas.
And the pond east of Lorne Street and just south of St. James will need to be bigger than in the original design.
Acton explained that under the new plan, stormwater will no longer flow through the industrial park to a new, double-gated aboiteau at the Tantramar River, but will probably be directed through existing ditches to culverts under the CN tracks at Crescent Street near the old Via Rail station and on out to the river past the Armtec plant using existing aboiteaux in the marshy areas along the way.
He said he sees the redesigned plan as a short-term solution until more money becomes available for a longer-term one with an additional retention pond behind the community gardens and the new, double-gated aboiteau near the river that was part of the original design.
Acton said he’s hoping Crandall Engineering will be ready to present the new $2.6 million flood control plan to council during its meeting on September 4th.
New aboiteaux on Rte. 935
Meantime, work has begun on a flood control project on Route 935 in the Carters Brook area of West Sackville.
The New Brunswick Department of Transportation and Infrastructure (DTI) has hired a construction company to install three, six-feet, concrete aboiteaux spaced 10 feet apart to reduce the risk of flooding.
It will also raise the road slightly.
A detour has been built around the project which is expected to be completed by the end of December.