Council approves contract with Copcan for Columbia-Washington project

Andrew Bennett
By Andrew Bennett
May 10th, 2012

Council has approved a multi-million dollar contract with Copcan Contracting Ltd. for the renovation of Columbia Ave. and Washington St. up to First Ave.—Rossland’s biggest single project ever—as negotiated by CAO Victor Kumar and contract administrator Kevin Terness of ISL Engineering.

The final project cost to the city of Rossland is estimated at $4.64 million and will include Columbia Ave. between St. Paul and Spokane, and Washington St. up to First Ave.

There was no discussion about the contract at the council meeting on Monday evening, but Mayor Greg Granstrom stated that council had removed parallel parking from the design and staff had negotiated project deletions “to the tune of $425,000.”

Council also announced the formation of a “communication task force” that will release weekly updates by a number of means including local media, the city website, and the city email list. Updates will include the previous week’s work and a forecast of two weeks to come.

Feedback and questions from the public to the task force will be encouraged. Task force members include Mayor Greg Granstrom, Coun. Jody Blomme, Coun. Tim Thatcher, Renee Clark of the Chamber of Commerce, Aaron Cosbey of the Sustainability Commission, manager of city works Darrin Albo, and manager of planning Mike Maturo.

Excluding about $1.4 million that the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) will spend on Columbia Ave. as part of the highway renovation, Copcan’s original tender figure for Rossland came to $4,683,731, plus $231,000 in site supervision and inspection, and $250,000 for contingencies, totalling $5,164,731.

Four major categories of deletions were agreed upon, however, saving $424,932.

In addition, because MOTI have agreed to cover project costs “curb to curb,” Rossland expects to save $100,000 by removing parallel parking from the design and moving the curb back to where it is now.

Although parallel parking was not listed as “optional” in the tender, the city said it is considered a “change of materials”—concrete to asphalt—that came under the limit that may have triggered penalties.

After the deletions and the change in parking design, the project cost to Rossland is estimated at $4,639,798.60.

Among the four deletions were two types of sub-surface drains in the storm sewer system, one on Columbia and one on Washington. These drains were not essential to the storm sewer system, they were optional in the tender, and their removal saved $94,667.

Cured-in-place pipe liners were not originally listed as optional, but Copcan agreed to subtract this element to save Rossland $192,326.

Street furnishings totalling $137,939 were removed: casualties include benches, waste and recycling receptacles, bike posts and racks, picnic tables, and the mining cart seats.

The bus shelter remains in the contract, however, as does the remake of Harry LeFevre square and the base preparations for the future Olaus Jeldness statue.

The city also opted to retain conduit in the design to allow for future improvements to telecommunications services—for example to run fibre optic cable to tie Rossland into a future regional broadband Internet service, an idea once popularized by CMON, the Columbia Mountain Open Network and now re-energized by the Columbia Basin Broadband Corporation funded by CBT.

In addition to the $4.64 million on the project, the city will have to pay some $90,383 in “non-rebatable” HST—most HST is rebated to municipalities.

Rounding out the bill, engineering and expenses of $382,905 were already charged to the city in 2011.

Property taxes will likely go up in 2013 to cover these costs. The “worst case scenario” according to city staff, would be an increase of $1.13 per $1000 of assessed value, but they estimate the “probable” impact to be half of that.

Copcan Contracting Ltd. is based out of Nanaimo and specializes in grading, paving, and utility replacement. Recent projects were as geographically disparate as Vancouver Island, Vanderhoof, and the Yukon.

Locally, Copcan recently completed projects in Fruitvale, Nelson, and Castlegar, among other communities in the Columbia Basin from Revelstoke to Kimberley.

Copcan was last in Rossland in 2009 for the $3.3 million Caldera Phase 1 project at Red Mountain.

Subcontractors include Selkirk Paving (Crescent Valley), Mar-Tech Underground Services (Aldergrove, near Vancouver), Martech Electrical Systems (Castlegar), Sierra Landscaping (Winfield, near Kelowna), and Valley Curbing (Kelowna).

Copcan mobilized this week and have already started to cut pavement to work on utilities. Roadworks will begin in one month, and landscaping will begin in six weeks.

Expect “substantial completion” by Sept. 30, with surface paving complete by August 31. The construction schedule indicates some work, including clean up, will continue into October.

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