Council questions Harbour Road project costs

Escalating costs for the city’s pending Harbour Road project is causing escalating concern among Port Alberni city councillors.

Escalating costs for the city’s pending Harbour Road project  is causing escalating concern among city councillors.

Coun. Jack McLeman raised the issue at council’s Sept. 23 meeting during discussion about a letter from a citizen noting that the project could be done for $4 million to $5 million.

Council was told at their last meeting that the cost of the first phase of the project increased by one-and-a-half times, he said.

“I’m very concerned about the costs we’re paying,” McLeman said.

According to McLeman, part of the issue is the fee of project consultants, which McLeman estimated at 12 per cent.

“Why bring something in that is economical when there is no benefit to them doing that,” McLeman said.

After the meeting, McLeman clarified that the 12 per cent figure came from another project that the city is involved with.

Several people have expressed concern about what the cost may be for phase two of the project, Coun. Cindy Solda said.

Couns. Hira Chopra and Rob Cole supported incentives to cut costs.

A council’s Sept. 9 meeting, council gave engineer Guy Cicon the go-ahead to pursue expanded discussions with Western Forest Products, the Port Alberni Port Authority and Catalyst Paper about the route’s preliminary design.

The preliminary design encompasses Ship Creek Road to Bruce Street. This phase of the project was originally projected to cost $2.7 million. But Cicon’s report noted that the cost is now $4 million.

Cicon apprised council that the cost estimate was drawn up in 2004. A spike in construction costs since then and expanded scope of design account for the increases, which should also be projected in phase two and three of the project as well, Cicon said.

The expanded scope includes access and intersection work, improvements to Western Forest Products storage compounds, and a separate access road to the Western Forest Products’ dryland sort that wasn’t originally envisioned, Cicon said.

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