Engineering firm will be paid an extra $105k to redesign Sackville flood control project

Deputy Mayor Ron Aiken, seen here at an earlier meeting, voted against giving Crandall more money

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.

Councillor Bill Evans

“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 directly through the industrial park to a new, double-gated aboiteau at the Tantramar River.

Instead, it will probably be directed through existing ditches to culverts under the CN tracks at Crescent Street near the old Via Rail station and then, 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.

To read coverage about surging Phase II costs click here and for my reporting on earlier modifications to the Lorne Street plan, click here.

New aboiteaux on Rte. 935

Detour around construction of 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.

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3 Responses to Engineering firm will be paid an extra $105k to redesign Sackville flood control project

  1. Percy Best says:

    Quite incredible how this mismanaged project gobbles up taxpayers’ money. There was already a huge amount of additional funding allotted by our Town to Crandall several months ago to oversee and manage the full $6 million project when it involved the two holding ponds and the massive ditch that had to cut through the middle of the Industrial Park.

    Now the project will be cut down to $2.6 million and instead of a large credit being given back to our Town, there will instead be $105,000 of additional paperwork charges to shrink the project and utilize the existing aboiteaux and marsh ditches.

    Why was this drainage project not left in the hands of the experts at the NB Department of Transportation and Infrastructure in Moncton? Between them and the NB Department of Agriculture, they have constructed and now maintain the 80 aboiteaux and culvert systems all over the Tantramar Marshes. They are the experts. To the best of my knowledge the Town of Sackville has never built or maintained an aboiteau and they certainly have not maintained, for the past forty years, the ditches that are supposed to take the water away from downtown and out to the Tantramar River. An inquiry asking if the hired consultants, Crandall Engineering, have ever been involved in the construction of an aboiteau system, has yet to even receive a reply.

  2. Sharon Hicks says:

    This whole process has been questionable from the very beginning. Those elaborate overpriced plans, which have now been discarded after several revisions had already been done, were developed after the public was told that to clean out the existing long-used drainage ditches would simply not be feasible.

    Last night we learned what their “NEW ALTERNATIVE” option will be – they will indeed be cleaning out that drainage ditch system after all, the very solution suggested by a group of knowledgeable citizens in the beginning, which we were originally told would not work.

    So, here we are, paying Crandall’s yet again – an extra $105,000 – to FINALLY do what should have been done in the first place. They are calling it a ‘temporary’ measure, but odds are this will be the final solution. Time will tell.

  3. Brian Lane says:

    Would this be the same quarry pond that the town doesn’t own yet and the earlier grant application was turned down? What could go wrong

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