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City of Powell River wastewater treatment project facing delays, but on budget

Manager of engineering services provides update on progress
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LOTS HAPPENING: The consolidated wastewater treatment plant is under budget and work is progressing at six different sites, City of Powell River finance committee was told.

City of Powell River’s consolidated wastewater treatment plant is progressing well, according to the lead staff member on the project.

Manager of engineering services Nagi Rizk, at the June 23 finance committee meeting, said there were no surprises. He said there had been a change order of $324,689, which was for some structural work that had to be revised.

“Financially, we track every penny we spend and why we spent it,” said Rizk. “All that is going to be reported in detail at the conclusion of the project.

“We are on budget. We still have $2.5 million, I think, between the $92.4 million budget and the total construction cost to date.”

Rizk said for the linear work, there was a $75,000 change order as an allowance that was in the budget for nest monitoring for raptors and blue herons.

“Every time we tackle a place where there are trees, any nests have to be assessed by a biologist,” said Rizk. “The contractors get information in writing, as well as us, the owners, as to what the procedures are.

“We did halt construction because there was an active nest. There was monitoring required and there was also an impact on the construction schedule.”

Rizk said the city’s representatives have been onsite with the project “pretty much every day now.”

“There is so much happening,” added Rizk. “There are six crews active at six different sites.”

Rizk said the intertidal work for the outfall is progressing and the first section is done.

“When the high tide comes you won’t see it but on low tide you will definitely see something,” said Rizk. “Eventually, it is all going to be covered in algae and marine life and it will all look natural.”

Rizk said there will be some delays with the project due to supply chain matters. He said it may impact the construction schedule and budget, because of the schedule, not because of the equipment the city is buying.

“I don’t know what to blame it on but we know the supply chain everywhere in all of the industries is impacted,” added Rizk. “When we get more details and firm numbers, we will keep you abreast.”

Rizk said there will be some scheduled work on the haul road down to the plant. He said the city is coordinating with Western Forest Products for the required digging.

“We have to open cut on the haul road and that has to be done when Western Forest Products is not hauling,” said Rizk. “It’s an important detail to mention to the public that this section will be totally closed so you cannot drive on the haul road. Access to the beach will be prohibited for that duration, which is a week.”

Rizk said information is posted to the city’s website at powellriver.ca.

Councillor asks for communication

Councillor Cindy Elliott asked what the original budget for the treatment plant was and Rizk replied $76 million. She then asked about how much piping there would be for the outfall at low tide. Rizk said 700 metres.

She then said people on Larch Avenue are getting “a little bit cranky” because they haven’t had any communication about how long construction will be going on.

“It’s seven days a week, all day, even on Sundays,” said Elliott. “They say nobody came to talk to them and they don’t know how long it is going to be this way. I’m wondering if we can talk to folks when we move into their neighbourhoods.”

Rizk said notifications are made door-to-door and notices are put in people’s mailboxes. He said, however, that some crews may not be up to speed on public notifications.

“There might be some missed communication,” said Rizk. “We like to hear from the public and ask them to please let us know if they have any concerns about safety, duration or noise.

“I don’t remember anything specific about Larch. Now that it’s come to my attention, we’ll make sure this is communicated to the crew.”

Finance committee chair councillor George Doubt said what he is taking away from Rizk’s presentation is “some pretty good news,” that the project is on budget, so far.

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