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Over $8 million in early projects set for approval

Time-sensitive items to be approved ahead of budget deliberations

In order to facilitate development in the Kedron Part II planning area (above) a bridge must be constructed over the Oshawa Creek to extend Britannia Avenue. The bridge, which is set for approval as a time-sensitive item on Dec. 11, could cost the city over $5 million. (Graphic courtesy of the City of Oshawa)

By Joel Wittnebel/The Oshawa Express

A batch of projects labelled as time-sensitive and worth over $8 million is set to go before councillors during a special meeting on Dec. 11.

The early approval of certain projects is a practice the city has been following for a number of years now, as it allows for potential cost savings down the line with contractors looking to fill their work schedules early in the new year.

“Experience has indicated that issuing major facility, road and park construction tenders and requests for proposals in early January can result in lower prices, greater competition and availability of experienced contractors,” the recently released city report reads. “Approval of the annual budget in late January does not provide the city the ability to issue bid documents in early January (the optimal time) and realize the benefits of early tendering.”

This year, $8.152 million worth of work is proposed with only $70,000 set to be funded through tax dollars, the remaining money to come from reserve accounts.

The most costly of the projects is the expansion of Britannia Avenue and the bridge over the Oshawa Creek, which will cost the city approximately $5.8 million.

The bridge is needed in order to pave the way for the Kedron Part II plan, one of largest development projects currently moving ahead in the city’s north end. The massive undertaking between four different developers, who each own approximately a quarter of the site, covers approximately 1.8 square kilometres of former agricultural land. The area could see approximately 1,500 homes, 222 townhouses, over 80 semi-detached houses, more than 400 units of medium density housing and almost 600 apartment units when completed. Commercial and retail spaces are also designated in portions of the development.

With development in the area, the bridge is necessary in order to facilitate fast response times for emergency services. In particular, the Oshawa Fire Services 2013 Fire Master Plan dictates that response times into the Kedron Part II plan area must be under four minutes from Fire Hall 6, which sits at the corner of Simcoe Street North and Britannia Avenue. The bridge would allow fire trucks to stream into the area with a straight shot down Britannia Avenue and over the bridge.

Other time-sensitive projects include the redevelopment of Verdun Road between Gliddon Avenue and Eulalie Avenue, including new curb, gutter and sidewalks with a $888,000 price tag, and similar work to Oshawa Boulevard South worth $885,000. However, Oshawa Boulevard between Gliddon Avenue and Eulalie will require more extensive construction efforts.

“The road is semi-urbanized and will require substantial grading, boulevard and driveway work,” the city report reads.

Crack sealing in the neighbourhood of  $349,000 is also set for approval. A preventative measure, the sealing is common practice for municipalities to extend the useful life of their roads.

“When performed at the appropriate time, crack sealing can deter initial pavement cracking from spreading into deeper and wider road defects therefore prolonging the life of the road structure and saving the city from having to commit financially to other costly road treatments,” the report reads.

The final item is the replacement of the boiler at the city’s greenhouse at 919 Farewell Avenue, worth $220,000. However, the city is hopeful a grant from the provincial government will help fund half of the project.

The $8 million in time-sensitive projects is an increase over last year which saw $7.8 million worth of projects approved ahead of budget deliberations, including $100,000 worth of crack sealing work and waterproofing repairs at the Centre Street parkade totalling $1.7 million. The big ticket item for last year being the recently completed $6 million runway replacement at the Oshawa Executive Airport.

This year’s projects are set to be approved during a special council meeting on Dec. 11 at 9:30 a.m., ahead of the presentation of the city’s operating budget on Dec. 15.