CORNWALL, Ontario – Cornwall City Councillor Justin Towndale raised some concerns at the Council meeting on Monday, June 24 about the growing costs to the Cornwall Municipal Works Yard.
The budget for the redevelopment of the Municipal Works Yard was originally marked as $26.3 million over 10 years with a $5.3 million cushion for any cost overruns over the life of the project.
The project however has already cost roughly $8.5 million in the first two years, with different items costing more than projected.
The current final cost of the project as estimated by City administration is $31.9 million.
One item planned for the first year of construction in 2018 was the building of a salt management facility on the site, this was originally budgeted for $1.04 million, but that project was pushed back to 2019 and now has an estimated price tag of $4.01 million.
“What’s been happening, is we’ve started the process, we started the phase 1 of the process, what we’ve come across is some work that we planned for down the road, but is better to do now, but we plan to stay within $32 million budget,” Bill de Wit, Division Manager for Municipal Works, told Council at the meeting.
“I am concerned that we will see massive cost overruns as the project goes on,” said Towndale.
In addition to cost overruns on project items like the salt management building, noise fence and the demolition of the salt sheds, other items have been moved much further up in the project’s timeline.
Case in point, the new administration building was originally scheduled to be built in 2027, but it was moved up to 2020.
“Old admin building would be only nine ft. away from new site construction,” explained de Wit. “We felt if we move that up, it will be much easier to complete that work.”
In addition to moving the construction of the new administration building up seven years, there was also an added cost of $450,000 for the design of the new building, which Towndale said was not included in the original budget.
Councillor Towndale put forward a motion asking for yearly reports on the development of the Municipal Works Yard project, so costs could be monitored by Council. The motion passed unanimously.