Council awards $2.5-million tender for Arthur Connecting Link project

WELLINGTON NORTH – Council here has awarded a $2.5-million contract for the Highway 6 Connecting Link project in Arthur.

On May 25 council unanimously awarded the Smith/George Street (Highway 6) tender to Steed and Evans at a cost of $2,537,215.

The project includes resurfacing about 1km of the road, from the Conestogo River bridge at the south end of the village to Conestoga Street in the north.

The Ministry of Transportation’s Connecting Links Program provides dedicated provincial funding for road and bridge projects on portions of provincial highways that pass through local municipalities.

The province launched the program to build a safer and more reliable transportation system, to keep goods moving, and better connect communities across the province.

Council also approved utilization of a combination of reserve funds and unallocated 2021 Ontario Community Infrastructure Funds (OCIF) to fund the gap between the approved budget and tendered amount – estimated to be approximately $257,000.

Council also voted to direct staff to ask the Arthur BIA to bring its contribution up to $138,000 (from the previously agreed $109,000) to offset project tender overages, and offset township contributions from reserves.

The report from township staff states the increase in BIA funding of $29,000 can be achieved without the BIA having to generate any additional funding or requesting an increase to their loan. This is because $21,000 was included in the BIA budget as contingency.

Staff’s recommendation was to apply this total amount to the Connecting Link enhancements to assist with the overages related to the pedestrian crossing and accessibility enhancements.

“What we’re recommending here when we show the increase from $109,000 to $138,000 has no impact on the BIA contribution,” said economic development officer Dale Small.

“What we are suggesting is that all of the contingency funding (the entire $21,000) be allocated to the accessibility improvements component of the BIA project.”

Small said the other BIA projects like the outdoor gym and the LED sign at the Arthur Fire Hall are operating on budget at this point and will not require any contingency funding.

In addition, $8,000 will also be reallocated from the community art location proposal, which was removed from the Connecting Link project after the BIA budget was approved but prior to the project going to tender.

“What we’ll be suggesting to the BIA is that we take $8,000 from that project and allocate it to the other streetscape enhancements,” Small said.

“That will still leave the BIA with $10,000 to do a community art location … in the town of Arthur somewhere.

“At the end of the day this does not increase their overall contribution, or their loan, or their BIA tax levy.”

Director of operations Matt Aston said Steed and Evans does not yet know the start date of construction.

“Formal project conversations haven’t happened yet, but after tonight, we hope that that’s the case,” he said.

Aston added the contract was specified with the intent of always keeping one lane open, ensuring people will not have to take a detour during construction.

“With construction being what it is, I don’t want to guarantee that it’s never going to be shut down,” he said.

“If it was shut down, it (the detour) would be sort of a shorter duration, and the detour would be Eliza Street out to Frederick Street.”