Nanaimo council faces cost uncertainty on Colliery dam remediation

NANAIMO – City council choses a cost-plus contract with cost uncertainties for Colliery dam fix.

Nanaimo traded cost certainties for the ability to meet deadlines in the Colliery dam project.

Nanaimo city council agreed 7-2 to move ahead with a cost-plus contract for spillway construction at the lower Colliery dam at Monday’s council meeting.

It also waived the city’s purchasing bylaw for a public tender call and instructed staff to invite contractors to submit their bids.

Councillors had concerns about the new contract process. Typically, the city goes with a design-bid-then build process, where the contractor assumes the risk and includes costs in its bid price. But with the city facing deadlines from the B.C. Comptroller of Water Rights, staff members proposed a cost-plus contract as “the only viable option.”

It will allow contractors to get started on work before a design is completed for a spillway and permits are in place, but it also creates uncertainty around what the final costs will be until the work is actually done.

Coun. Jim Kipp, who opposed the motion, called it a scary thing.

But according to councillors Wendy Pratt and Diane Brennan, council created this situation.

“These aren’t ideal conditions and we are the author of that,” Pratt said.  “I believe we just need to get on with this.”

Council will be provided with updates on remediation costs.

Nanaimo Mayor Bill McKay has also announced the members of a new Colliery dams select committee, which includes councillors Jim Kipp and Bill  Yoachim, Wally Wells, Leon Cake, Lorne Gale, Peter Urquhart and Snuneymuxw First Nation representatives Chris Good and Emmy Manson.

Michelle Corfield will be the facilitator.

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