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Bids for parkway work too high

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With the tender for construction on the La Verendrye Parkway project closing July 4, the town found the lowest bidder is asking $1.3 million more than the $2.4 million the town had budgeted for.

But Operations and Facilities manager Pat Hickerson said the town hopefully will have a solution by the July 22 council meeting so that construction can start on schedule.

“Our consultant is talking with the contractors this week. There will be some negotiations, and if we’re successful, we’ll go ahead with the lowest bid,” he noted.

This may involve some downscaling of the parkway project, which has been designed to include expanded docking facilities at the Sorting Gap Marina, an additional 18-25 parking spaces on Front Street, extending sidewalks and bicycle paths about one km to Victoria Avenue, and more trees, seating areas, and lighting.

As well, the Crowe Avenue wharf will be replaced and historic interpretive displays will be erected along the parkway. A scenic overlook also will be built at the foot of Victoria Avenue.

Hickerson explained why the town’s original $2.4-million estimate was so far off the mark.

“Well, the $2.4 million didn’t include the engineering costs, and there has been some additional items added since the original estimate,” he noted.

“But perhaps the major factor is the work within the water,” he added, referring to aspects of the project such as an offshore spawning shoal and backwater nursery structure.

“The higher water level definitely makes this more difficult, and therefore more costly,” said Hickerson.

While the current negotiations are being held in-camera, the matter will come before council again before a final decision is made.

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