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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11 Responses to Sackville flood control project may run over budget

  1. Wayne Feindel Servant of the Shiretown says:

    May! May run over budget! You think? If you just look back a little, the final cost overrun will be three times that. There should be a freeze on all these big budget Old Town Sackville projects until the new Tabtramar budget is tabled and some serious broom sweeping of everything is carried out. This is one sinkhole, and there are more to come if you are going to service this area. Did anyone even ask what the new well head in Old Dorchester is going to cost? The last business you can soak in Dorchester is for sale. The recession is settling in and this time there are no Albertans willing to feed you. Rumor has it that instead of utilizing the few costly gifts, such as a state of the art kitchen in the Dorchesters Veteran’s hall which serves a warming center is about to end up in a dumpster. Perfect way to make us feel welcome. That pains us as much as trashing all things we helped to buy to sustain the hospital. There are more stupid people out there than you can imagine and I’m only one of them.

  2. Tantramarshire says:

    Millions for ponds. What a world.

  3. Alex Keeling says:

    “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.”

    Beale and Inch’s bid would put us $338,552.06 over the budgeted amount, which would be about 6% over. I’d call that unfortunate, but I wouldn’t consider 6% to be “significantly higher”.
    Going with the next cheapest bid, from Birch Hill, would put us more than 35% over. I’d call *that* significantly higher, at an extra $2,052,131.32.

    • Percy Best says:

      Well Alex, they seem to have completely forgotten about the invoice that will arrive from Englobe (Crandall Engineering) for the preparation of all the plans and the tender documents, as well as overseeing the actual construction. I would think that 10 to 15% of the total cost would be somewhere in the vicinity for that little bill for both the quarry section and the Industrial Park section.

      So perhaps another $600,000 to $900,000 can be added on to what we currently see as the low bid. Hopefully this additional item will be addressed at the upcoming town council meeting on Tuesday.

  4. Tantramarobserver says:

    I hope that the town engineer will review the offers and judge that it may be better to pay more for better quality services. The « good enough » local quality could cost us more in long term maintenance than we are saving in initial cost difference.

    • KATHY BEST says:

      Beale and Inch have been in business for many many years and have always done exceptional work and do this kind of work every year…why would you say the above?

      • Tantramarobserver says:

        Having been in business for x amount of years is not a sign of quality work. Many contractors in the region offer sub par services and products, but appeal to the local market with prices that reflect the region’s incomes.

        But when a city is to contract out such projects, it should consider the quality of the work to be done.

      • Percy Best says:

        Hopefully you can find the time to educate yourself on this ‘class act’ local company that has been in business over 70 years. —

    • Les Hicks says:

      Have you personally had work performed by Beale and Inch that you were unsatisfied with? I have never heard of any complaints about the quality of their work from other residents, and we have had work done by them that was very professional and high quality. I would think that grouping in this company with the “many contractors in the region (that) offer sub par services and products” that you complain about, without any evidence backing up your statement, would leave you open to a charge of libel by Beale and Inch. I wonder if Richard or Brett have read your baseless criticism. At the very least you owe this company an apology.

  5. Jon says:

    Are there documents detailing the engineering studies that a) identified Sackville’s flooding problems, b) propose solutions to them, and c) demonstrate that retention ponds are the best technology for preventing flooding? They would be interesting to read, if so.

    • Percy Best says:

      Jon, the only one that seems to indicate that retention ponds are the way to go would be the ones that profit from the project itself. One does not need retention ponds of any size when there is only a five hour time slot, twice a day, while gates of a proper sized aboiteau are actually closed because of the salt water tide cycle. A generous ditch system itself would almost be enough to handle any five hour backup, and a proper sized aboiteau, as recommended in the very thorough HILCON report, would then open to allow full drainage over the next approximately seven hours. This would happen twice a day of course.

      HILCON did not recommend any retention ponds. The NB Department of Transportation and Infrastructure, that now maintain all the dyking system for NB did not recommend any retention ponds. For some ‘strange reason’ it seems that Crandall Engineering (Englobe) said that the town needs enough water retention for a full 24 hours, and not just for the 5 hours twice a day that an aboiteau gate is closed. It is interesting that the bottom of the newly proposed retention pond behind the Community Garden is going to be FOUR METERS ABOVE SEA LEVEL. That should tell you something.

      The little tiny aboiteau (AB-01) in behind Russell Metals, that the town storm water is headed towards,is an very old wooden one that is only 18″ square, and that is not much bigger than a standard driveway culvert. There is no commitment from DTI to replace this abouteau with a larger one. I would imagine that they are now awaiting confirmation that the Chignecto Isthmus Project will indeed go ahead and that will make all aboiteau completely redundant. It would cost somewhere in the vicinity of half a million dollars to replace aboiteau AB-01 with a new larger one.

      There will be NO water retained in town once the Chignecto Isthmus Project is completed as the drainage pipes leading to the Tantramar river will be open 24/7 with no restriction whatsoever. A new triple gate system at the mouth of the Tantramar River (Wood Report) will effectively make the Tantramar River a bit of a freshwater lake, similar to what the river is inland from the current double gate beside the TCH at Exit 506. If one looks at the water level that is under the Wheaton Covered Bridge, on the High Marsh Road, then one will basically see what our Tantramar River will be all the way out to the new gate system.

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