Cork Street project over budget before shovels hit the ground

First over-budget capital project of the year has councillor worried others will follow

KENILWORTH – Lavis Contracting Co. has been awarded an $853,379 (pre-tax) contract to reconstruct a 200-metre stretch of Cork Street in Mount Forest, between Waterloo and Princess streets.

The Huron County-based construction company was the lowest of five total bids received for the job, with Guelph-based Cox Construction coming in at the top with a $1.13-million bid, pre-tax.

Despite Lavis having the lowest bid, the project has already run over the $862,000 budget before it has even begun.

With taxes, and engineering fees and tests factored into the cost, staff are estimating the entire project to ring in at $949,298.

To ensure the road work moves ahead, council approved an $87,298 budget overage at its May 8 meeting.

But councillor Sherry Burke questioned what steps could be taken to mitigate surpassing budgets in the future.

The budget for the Cork Street project was pre-approved by council in February, prior to the solidifying of Wellington North’s 2023 budget.

At the time, the financial breakdown was: $507,000 for the road, $297,000 for water and $58,000 for sewers.

Township staff advocated getting a tender posted before construction company schedules filled for the summer, considering the scope of the project and that the budget would not pass for several weeks.

At the May 8 meeting, Burke expressed concern other capital projects this year will also require budget increases.

CAO Brooke Lambert said staff anticipated challenges with budget overruns, adding staff intend to return to council with a report on the township’s capital projects that may provide insight into future costs.