The road to construction of the Scotch Creek Water System had its share of potholes, speed bumps and detours. Now, with the conclusion of a successful public assent process and the use of an innovative negotiated Request for Proposals (RFP) process, the project is on track for construction to begin in Spring 2023.
The Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD) had sought grant funding for the water system expansion following the completion of the Scotch Creek Water Master Plan in 2018. The first application was denied in 2019, and a scaled-back grant application was resubmitted in 2020. It took until December 2021 for the Federal and Provincial governments to award the funding to the project.
The unusually long decision process, coupled with cost escalations caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and supply chain issues, caused concerns with cost overruns. When no additional grant money was forthcoming, the CSRD decided to use an alternate approach to tendering the project.
The negotiated RFP process involved the CSRD, engineering consultant and contractor working together to find ways to ensure project fit the required budget. Using a public procurement process, Mountainside Earthworks was the low bidder for the contract.
Darcy Mooney, Manager of Operations, informed the Board the use of the collaborative process, combined with local construction expertise, created options for cost reductions that hadn’t previously been considered.
“It was a very worthwhile experience that will result in cost savings,” Mooney said.
The Board unanimously approved third reading of bylaws to establish the new Scotch Creek Water System Service Area and authorize the loan for the remaining costs not covered by the grant. These costs were agreed to by the majority of property owners in a petition process for assent that concluded on September 29, 2022. These bylaws are now subject to approval from the Inspector of Municipalities prior to final reading.
The Board also approved awarding the water system construction contract for the project to Mountainside Earthworks at a cost not to exceed $2.8 million. Currently work is underway on the surveys, archeological assessments and geotechnical requirements needed to complete the detailed design plans in preparation for construction next year.
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