A planned $890,000 infrastructure project is expected to help deal with the frequent water-service disruptions that are being experienced by many in Chemainus.
In its meeting on Feb. 17, North Cowichan’s council gave the green light to the replacement of the 850-metre Smiley Road water main, from River Road to the Trans-Canada Highway, which is one of the two trunk water mains that distribute water to Chemainus.
John Dehoop, the municipality’s manager of infrastructure, said in a report to council that the water main is at the end of its expected useful life and is in extremely poor condition.
“[North Cowichan’s utilities staff] have to repeatedly repair leaks in this water main,” he said.
“In addition, the water main has several leaks that can’t be repaired. Customers are experiencing frequent water service outages, and as this water main continues to age, it is expected that the frequency of breaks will increase. Further, the pipe will become increasingly challenging to repair. The condition of this water main is such that staff are concerned that it could rupture, causing damage to the road. As such, staff determines that this water main must be replaced. “
Initially, it was proposed that the project be undertaken in two phases, with the first phase taking place in 2020, but staff were not able to do the work last year.
At the meeting on Feb. 17, council awarded the contract for the work to IWC Excavation Ltd. for its low bid of $589,940, and the project is scheduled to be completed by this spring.
Dehoop said staff recognize that the budget exceeds the price associated with the low bid, but recommended that the budget be left as is.
“The additional budget will be required to pay for construction administration and inspection services,” he said.
“Also, it is always advisable to budget a contingency amount to deal with unanticipated costs that can arise in a project such as this one.”
Clay Reitsma, North Cowichan’s senior manager of engineering, added that some of those unanticipated costs could be archaeological in nature.
“Archaeological issues can be quite pricey, as we have experienced at some of our other projects,” he said.
“We might also have to do some extra road work on this project.”