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Upgrade timeline for Bowen Service Yard

Staff prefer to keep the public works yard at the current site
The front of the service yard building at the public works site.

The municipality is moving forward with plans to upgrade the Public Works Service Yard.

The Carter Road site became the focus of attention last year when several health and safety and environmental issues were highlighted at the location. These included the presence of rats and mold inside the main work building, and contaminated soil and groundwater in the yard itself.

“As you are aware the current service yard is not adequate. It’s well past the end of its life and doesn’t meet operational needs,” said director of engineering Patrick Graham at the April 22 council meeting while presenting a report on next steps.

“The most pressing occupational health and safety issues have been addressed by putting a temporary trailer on the site for lunch room and office space, so that staff don’t have to spend their time in an infested space. So that’s good,” he added. The service yard is home to 10 full-time employees and an additional two in the summer.

Long-term however the site will need to be fixed and enhanced for full operations to continue. Graham explained the current location is the best place to do this, highlighting its central location, correct zoning, and existing connection to all utilities. Other areas explored – the secondary Public Works Service Yard on Salal Road or the Old Fire Hall – lacked several important components, such as utilities or yard space.

Graham’s ask of council was to approve $27,612 to obtain the design and value engineering necessary to create a full design and build proposal (DB proposal) for the project. This work will be carried out by Liberty Contract Management (LCM) – known on Bowen for their construction of the New Fire Hall – with the goal to retain LCM for the final build as well.

The project will involve building a new works building and garage, along with cleanup of the contaminants at the site. LCM has estimated the work to cost somewhere around $3 million, give-or-take $150,000 on either end depending on certain details of the structure’s layout.

“This is a project that has to get done,” said mayor Andrew Leonard, noting that capital renewal and replacement costs are expected to almost double over the next five years. “A lot of those roadworks and public works projects are going to happen out of that service yard, which right now is falling apart.”

Council unanimously decided to move ahead with the design and value engineering stage. A decision on the much larger project amount could return to council this summer, and if approved would see the upgrade likely begin in 2025.