Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Woodworth Dam construction plans revised towards 2019

Replacement of the Woodworth Dam is one of three elements
for the City of Prince Rupert's water supply infrastructure planning

(photo from Hays 2.0 update of April)

The plans for the Woodworth Dam replacement project appear to have seen a slight modification to the timeline ahead, that following one short sentence in the July financial review at Monday night's council session from the City's Financial Officer Corrine Bomben.

In her notes for Council, Ms. Bomben stated that "the new Woodworth Dam project will not begin construction, so the majority of this portion of the water budget will be carried forward to 2019."

The financial update and a follow up question from Councillor Cunnigham on water fund issues can be reviewed from the City's Video Archive of Monday's meeting starting at the three minute mark.

The wording of that update did capture our attention, so in order to seek some clarification on the status of the dam replacement project and whether the plans had been delayed, or perhaps cancelled, the North Coast Review contacted the City of Prince Rupert's Communications Manager Veronika Stewart.

Ms. Stewart provided the following background information on the status of the city's second phase of its major rebuild of the water supply system.

The project was delayed slightly, not cancelled.  As Ms. Bomben mentioned, the portion of the water budget is to be carried forward not reallocated  – the project is scheduled to begin full construction in 2019, with minor mobilization and site preparation in the remainder of 2018.

The Woodworth project was put out for tender by the City in July of this year, though so far no announcement of who may have been the successful bidder on the project has been announced by the City.

The city's water supply infrastructure ambitions made for a significant part of Mayor Lee Brain's Hays 2.0 update of the spring, with Mayor noting how it fit into the three phase approach that the city is taking towards those projects.

The path ahead for the water supply program is outlined at the fifty five minute mark of the Hays 2.0 update.

On Monday, Mr. Brain also provided a short update on some of the other infrastructure themes that the city discussed with the province at last weeks UBCM meeting, including the quest for funding for phase three of the water project, which would include the submarine line and plans for a water treatment system.

Still, by not expanding on Ms. Bomben's comments related to the dam project, the Mayor and Council members missed an opportunity to bring residents up to speed on the overall scope of their water infrastructure planning.

Considering how Monday's session only lasted fifteen minutes, the time does appear to have been available for the Council members to explain for residents why the delay was required and if it will result in any additional costs towards completion of the project.

The infrastructure challenges facing the city are sure to be a theme of the upcoming municipal election, as well as at the the All Candidates Forum set for October 1st.

That public forum may provide the Mayor and current council members a chance to explore the details behind the Woodworth dam delay a little further for the public.

As well, the Candidates forum will offer the opportunity for the new challengers for office to weigh in with their thoughts on the city's approach to the issue.

Further notes on Monday's Council session can be found from our Council Timeline feature, while a wider overview of infrastructure issues is available here.

More themes on Council Discussion topics can be explored from our Council Discussion page.

To return to the most recent blog posting of the day, click here.

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