July 11, 2012
Yellowknife embarks on a five-year infrastructure building spree
Recent changes in water quality regulations have prompted the City of Yellowknife to initiate a massive five-year infrastructure blitz.
The city had been accumulating funds for several years to build a water treatment plant at some point in the future.
Those plans were accelerated when the Government of the Northwest Territories issued new public water supply regulations in 2009, essentially adopting federal drinking water guidelines.
“We have a high-quality water source in the Yellowknife River, with only one recent turbidity event during the summer,” said Mark Heyck, a city councillor and deputy mayor of Yellowknife.
“However, while we already chlorinate the water, the new regulations require membrane filtration of surface water sources.”
Any enforcement of the new regulations would be suspended, provided the city continued to move forward on the new treatment plant.
Work on the plant site began in 2011, near existing reservoirs, with construction of an access road.
However, given current low interest rates, the city recently decided to borrow $20 million for full completion of the treatment plant and to use the existing accumulated funds of $17 million to address the city’s remaining infrastructure deficit.
Ratepayers would traditionally vote on taking out such a large loan, but since construction of the water treatment plant wasn’t optional, the vote was limited to city council.
Councillors supporting the proposal cited the additional likelihood of rising interest rates if borrowing for the water treatment plant was deferred.
Construction contractors bidding on multi-year commitments to the projects would also be likelier to provide longer-term stability for local workers.
Council also took into consideration the increased costs of emergency repairs on sewer lines as compared to scheduled replacement.
“The cost of the repair scenario includes the extremely costly repairs associated with critical failures in the dead of winter,” said Heyck.
“While sewer capacity was adequate, the corrugated lines have continued to decay.”
While some of the accumulated money will be committed to road and sidewalk improvements, about $9 million will be devoted to accelerating the city’s sewer pipe replacement program.
The program, designed to replace corrugated metal lines with ductile iron, began in the 1980s and was scheduled to conclude in 2005, but the work had slowed considerably in recent years.
Sewer lines were already inspected and assessed, with corrugated lines most likely to fail first placed on the top of the list.
Under the accelerated plan, the entire program is scheduled to be completed by 2017, instead of the former estimate of 2023.
“While our watermains are in better shape than the sewer lines, they will also be replaced just to take advantage of the excavations we’ll be undertaking,” said Heyck.
All of the work will be dig-and-replace, with currently budgeted infrastructure work continuing as planned.
Significant additional work is likely to commence next summer.
“By dealing with the infrastructure deficit at an aggressive pace, and completing 10 years worth of work in five years, we’re hoping to be better off financially than if we deferred it,” said Heyck.
|MOST POPULAR STORIES|
|TODAY’S TOP CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS|
These projects have been selected from 316 projects with a total value of $2,787,806,637 that Reed Construction Data Building Reports reported on Friday.
$1,000,000,000 Edmonton AB Prebid
$220,000,000 Medicine Hat AB Negotiated
$50,000,000 Calgary AB Prebid
- Construction Site Arson
- Industry reacts to surprise B.C. Liberal majority
- Journal of Commerce Update for the week of May 20th, 2013
- Calgary Airport Tunnel
- Worker at centre of union sign up allegations speaks out
- Calgary program aims to get more people into the trades
- Midrise in the City
- Veterans battle barriers into the trades
- Government makes changes to online tendering
- SNC-Lavalin maintains that new bribery allegations have been resolved
- B.C. faces a tough battle for top talent
- Keyano College building state of the art training facility
- Essential skills can play a vital role in an apprentices' success
- Taking a closer look at the risks in green building for contractors
- Colleges conduct construction research in addition to teaching
- Skills Canada BC Competition
- Lower Mainland high school trades program is unique
- Construction Learning Forum aims to educate
- High schools looking for more industry participation
- Industrial construction supervisor program takes off
- Saskatchewan bill passed
- Edmonton garners support for regional cash for arena
- Feds pledge $5 million for Vimy memorial
- VIDEO: Economic Update May 21, 2013
- VIDEO: Competing in the trades
- Multi-employer approach needed in apprenticeships
- New Perspective
- ACEC’s input helps develop global engineering guidelines
- Clerk of works position gives peace of mind on projects
- World Trade Center developer’s plan for a 926-foot tower moving ahead
- Call for action after MOL says workers are responsible for their own safety
- Cold spring and weak construction hurt Deere’s 2013 predictions
- CanBIM reschedule June session
- More green roofs top Toronto buildings
- Witness recants testimony in Montreal corruption case
|ALEX’S ECONOMICS BLOG|
Reed Construction Data Canada’s Chief Economist Alex Carrick discusses current developments in the North American economic environment with emphasis on the construction industry.
- An Overview of Prices and Sales in the Diverging U.S. and Canadian Housing Markets (April 25, 2013)
- Canada’s Precarious Dependence on the Commodity Price Super-Cycle (April 22, 2013)
- Twenty major upcoming residential and transportation terminal construction projects - April 2013 (April 15, 2013)