TYSON WHITNEY PHOTO Port McNeill council decided to hold off on making a decision to replace a dock and a ramp at the harbour until they get more information.

Town of Port McNeill hesitates on replacing harbour’s dock and ramp

“The danger is the longer we hold on to awarding the bid, the closer we get to the tourist season”

The Town of Port McNeill hesitated on making a decision to fix up parts of the harbour, choosing instead to hold off and wait for more information.

A report regarding replacement of the municipal main dock and ramp, written by Harbour Manager Emma Bates and Treasurer Dan Rodin, was discussed at length at the town’s last council meeting on Dec. 3.

The report recommended that council “approve the cost overrun and make a budget allocation in the 2019 Five Year Financial Plan to cover it.”

According to the report, two years ago council approved a review of the harbour’s infrastructure, with the review find that “the ramp and the main dock were identified as harbour components that required replacement.”

Quick facts from the report:

1. Preliminary work on obtaining estimates for the ramp and main dock was done two years ago;

2. In 2018, council commissioned a more detailed analysis of the harbour infrastructure with the intent that this analysis would form the basis of a long-term business plan that would ensure that the harbour was self-sustaining;

3. Council also approved a budget of $145,000 for the replacement of the main dock and ramp; and

4. Town staff tendered a project on BC Bid for the replacement of the dock and installation of a new ramp. The town had sourced the ramp ($35,000) and intended to pay for it separately in the expectation there would be some cost savings.

Current status:

According to the report, the town “has received one bid of $130,000. Because of the legal and engineering work completed to date on the bid preparation ($6,500), the total cost of the project will be approximately $190,000 which is $45,000 over the approved budget. If the town accepts the bid, work is expected to start in December and be completed in time for the 2019 tourist boating season.”

Analysis:

According to the report, “replacement of the main dock and ramp is needed. Council could defer the ramp replacement, however, this strategy would probably incur additional costs due to remobilization of men and machinery when the work was done. Both 2017 and 2018 reports indicated replacement of the main dock and ramp. To appropriately manage the assets, reduce risk liabilities, and improve our services, replacement is required.”

Conclusion:

Staff asked for council to “approve the anticipated cost overrun and make provision for its payment in the 2019 Five Year Financial Plan.”

“My more immediate concern is there’s some other issues that aren’t talked about in this request,” said Coun. Ryan Mitchell. “E Dock has been smashed by the ferry apparently a couple years ago and it’s never been fixed, and the approach is not in the best of conditions.”

“Is there any insight on that?” asked Mayor Gaby Wickstrom.

“The ramp and the float were known from a previous report that we had done … the approach wasn’t identified at that time, so in the 2018 budget, replacing the float and the ramp was what was put into our budget for this year,” said Acting Administrator Pete Nelson-Smith, who then noted the ramp and float are definitely in need of replacement and that “Moving forward, we can’t be guaranteed the same price that we were offered this time by the contractor, so we may end up looking at paying more next year if we put it out again for tender.”

“My concern is that E Dock is the dock that the ferry ties up to, and that damage hasn’t been addressed … I would like to just pause, get all the facts, and then make a decision — I don’t feel like we have enough facts to make a decision,” said Mitchell.

“I would personally like to have Dan (town treasurer) here so we can have this discussion with him,” said Wickstrom. “If as a council we did decide to go ahead, what does that look like, could we do this, and what needs to be shifted?”

“Do we know the latest we can accept the bid?’ asked Coun. Derek Koel.

“The danger is that the longer we hold on to awarding the bid, the closer we get to the tourist season, which will put us to where we can’t do the work until the tourist season is over,” warned Nelson-Smith. “We could put this off for two weeks, but I don’t believe Dan is going to be in town until January.”

Wickstrom asked for Rodin to submit a more in-depth report on the numbers involved, and then Coun. Shelley Downey requested the report be brought back at a later meeting, which was approved by council.


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