The pandemic has affected how quickly and when the City of Moose Jaw completes some of its capital projects, which concerns a few city councillors.
City administration presented a report during the recent city council meeting that looked at the status of capital projects undertaken during the past year including those that have yet to be completed or are ongoing. Each project was listed as on track, risk to schedule, or schedule in jeopardy.
Nineteen projects were either completed last year or will be completed this year; the completion schedule is at risk for six projects; and the schedule is in jeopardy to finish eight projects. Those eight initiatives include upgrades at the city complex, Pla-Mor Palace, general upgrades to parks, development of pathways, special needs upgrades at Smith Park, the Kinsmen Sportsplex Arena, city hall, and a tree program.
One project that concerned Coun. Crystal Froese was the high-service pumphouse replacement project, which the municipality started last August but did not expect to finish until mid-2022. This was due to a delay in awarding the construction contract.
The anticipated completion date for this project before the pandemic struck was the fourth quarter of 2021, explained Bevan Harlton, director of engineering services. The department has adjusted the completion schedule to May 30, 2022.
The budget for the pumphouse’s replacement is $16.4 million; $1.9 million had been spent by Dec. 31, 2020.
A second project that worried Froese was the cast iron water main replacement project. While the schedule was considered at risk, she was concerned that $5.1 million had been spent by the end of last December even though the budget was $10.2 million.
City administration has yet to max out the full budget for this project since it began several years ago, she added. She wondered what the strategy was this year to maximize the spending this year.
Council did approve a budget of $10.2 million for this project this year, replied Brian Acker, director of financial services. However, this budget does not reflect the fact there were reductions in how much federal funding the initiative received.
“The actual budget was $5.8 million. We completed 90 per cent of that work,” he added.
Phase 6 of the replacement program starts in 2021, said Harlton. His department will post the tender by the end of February and award the work by the end of March.
Since many capital projects are behind schedule, Coun. Doug Blanc wondered if there was any chance that some would come in over budget because of those delays or if they would remain on budget.
Most projects with completion schedules in jeopardy are related to the parks and recreation department, explained city manager Jim Puffalt. It is possible that some projects could come in over budget, but most have already been tendered out.
These projects will likely be completed since only the schedules are the issue, added Scott Osmachenko, recreation services manager. All the work can be completed this year.
The next regular council meeting is Monday, March 8.