New bridge a no-go; projected costs exceed $15-mill mark

Chris Stedile
By Chris Stedile
August 18th, 2015

The lengthy road to a new bridge in Trail has been made even longer after council voted to reject all the submitted tenders at Monday’s council meeting.

The proposed pipe-pedestrian bridge was intended to be a $10 million project, but the newly-received tender shows the final cost to be in excess of $15.7 million. Council decided that going along with the project at this cost was something they just couldn’t do.

Instead, Trail Mayor Mike Martin said they will be looking into why and how this substantial shortage came about.

“We are advancing the procurement of a highly-experienced, third-party person that can come in and give us an overview of what went wrong, why it went wrong and what can we do.”

Despite an agreement with the RDKB that guaranteed a funding contribution of $4.2 million, the city would still be required to front an additional $11.58 million directly.

Factoring in this contribution, along with the City’s gas tax reserves, loan bylaw proceeds and the city capital water fund budget, the net shortfall remains at $5.163 million.

Chief Administrative Officer David Perehudoff pointed out the plummeting Canadian dollar as one of the larger culprits within the situation. He said he regretted to explain that this had somehow been overlooked and accounted for $750,000 in additional costs to the project budget.

Several solutions were considered prior to the project, Martin said, including the removal of decorative lighting or even going as far as to roll out the project in phases. These and other solutions all resulted in shaving off some of the cost associated, but ultimately did not make enough of an impact.

The chosen approach will likely result in more money being spent on engineering and potentially tendering a project, but Martin said mayor and council believe it to be a due-diligence exercise that has to be completed, given the current cost dilemma.

While council does recognize that the previous referendum came out in favour of a new bridge, it was under the expectation it would cost significantly smaller sum. As such, Martin said council does not feel it is in the best interest of taxpayers to continue along this path to a new Trail bridge.

He said council is aware that the decommissioning of the Old Bridge – whenever that may be – could put them in an even more precarious financial position.

Categories: GeneralPolitics