Cobourg Council – Waterfront Tender Withdrawn Due to Cost Disparities

In City Hall, Editor Choice

By Cecilia Nasmith/Today’s Northumberland
Cobourg council voted at this week’s committee-of-the-whole meeting to cancel the tender for harbour infrastructure repairs due to a massive disparity between the budgeted amount and every bid received.

Councillor Emily Chorley’s motion further asked that project costs be re-estimated and that a debt-financing strategy be presented to council at the outset of the 2023 budget process.

Director of Community Services Brian Geerts offered some background, saying the tendering process came at the end of 12 months of detailed design work.

The original estimate provided for in the 2022 budget was $4,950,000.

“As part of the tendering process on such a large and complex project, it’s normal to ask for an updated estimate near the time of tendering,” Geerts explained.

“We engaged Shoreplan Engineering to help manage that project. We requested an updated project estimate as part of the tendering process.”

The result, in August, was a revised estimate of $6,630,000. Six bids were received, ranging from $7,580,000 and $11,910,000.

Or, as Chorley put it, the bids averaged out to $9,095,000, or 83% over the original estimate.

“I do want to flag that for council and the public, that these are not small cost overruns we are facing,” she said.

“They are significant, which is why I have asked for a financing strategy and an updated estimate – so we can really understand the costs we are facing on our waterfront, and make those renewed efforts at securing funding from other levels of government.”

“The recommendation is to withdraw and rescope the project,” Geerts said.

“We can still proceed with some amount of work over this winter. There’s some environmental constraints, and winter is the best time for this type of construction.”

Also, he said, the work will take place prior to the next tourist season.

“We can rescope some of that work, retender and maybe get something closer (to the budget).”

Cecilia Nasmith
Author: Cecilia Nasmith

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