Friday, November 21, 2014

‘Huffman’ subdivision put out to tender

The town will get a better idea as to what the proposed “Huffman” residential subdivision on Williams Avenue will cost after town council decided yesterday to put the job out to tender.
Engineering Northwest has estimated the project will cost about $1.4 million, but the town will get a more accurate idea of the price from any contractors who respond to the call for tenders, which will go out immediately and close March 12.

The cost of the project includes demolition of the school, road work on Williams Avenue from Fifth Street East to Third Street East (190 metres) as well as the residential area on the Huffman School property, and a sidewalk along Fifth Street East to Colonization Road East.
Also included is sewer and water work on Williams Avenue (190 metres), as well as the former school property.
As it stands right now in the town’s preliminary 2013 capital budget, the project to create a 16-lot residential subdivision—with six fronting Williams Avenue and an additional 10 on a proposed cul-de-sac—will be paid for through a blend of federal gas tax funds and water and sewer funds.
But council has not completely made up its mind to go ahead with the project until it gets real numbers.
“I think that it’s a good idea to go to tender and find out the actual costs,” Coun. Paul Ryan said at a special budget meeting yesterday.
“But I would sure like to see the tender broke up so that we can do it stages, maybe Williams first,” he added.
Operations and Facilities manager Doug Brown explained the work would be done over two construction seasons (2013 and 2014), with the work on Fifth Street East and Williams Avenue completed this year.
“I am willing to proceed with the tender process,” said Coun. Ken Perry.
“I’ve got some ideas that we can maybe proceed on this . . . but under the current financial constraints, I think we’re going to have to change the way we do business,” he added.
Coun. Ryan said now is the best time to put the job out to tender as it is the slow time of year for contractors.
He noted council is not obligated to award the tender once it comes back.
Municipal planner Faye Flatt said that through the tendering process, the town not only will know how much it will cost to develop the subdivision but will have a much better handle on what the sale prices of the lots will be and what conditions the town may want to impose on them.
She added she has kept in touch with people who have expressed interest in buying lots, and no one has asked to be removed from that list.
“In fact, there has been discussions . . . of potentially more people coming forward,” noted Flatt.
She has had discussions with regards to mining companies and said there is an indication that in the next couple of years, they will be looking for 10 or more lots where they can build.
“If anything, it’s gaining speed as opposed to receding,” Flatt remarked, referring to the demand for lots.
In other news, the town will not be doing anything with the Rainy Lake Hotel property this year because it is not financially feasible at this time.
Council also slashed a list of low- and medium-priority items from the preliminary 2013 capital budget during yesterday’s meeting.
At its next budget meeting, council will take a look at the rest of the capital budget, as well as the preliminary operating one.

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