Sidney announced the “substantial completion” of the renovation of Reay Creek Dam (inclusive fish-ladder) earlier this month. (Town of Sidney/Submitted)

Sidney announced the “substantial completion” of the renovation of Reay Creek Dam (inclusive fish-ladder) earlier this month. (Town of Sidney/Submitted)

Sidney announces ‘substantial completion’ of Reay Creek Dam renovations

Final cost could be revealed next month after project suffered ‘unforeseen issues’

Sidney residents could learn the final cost of infrastructure improvements around Reay Creek next month after the municipality announced “substantial completion” of renovations to Reay Creek Dam.

“Finance has advised that we will have final costs once all costs have been accounted and a report will go to (council),” said Paula Kully, Sidney’s communication manager. “They hope to have this in December.”

Sidney announced “substantial completion” of Reay Creek Dam on Nov. 9.

Mayor Cliff McNeil-Smith lauded the various participants in the project, which consisted of two separate but related projects happening simultaneously as contractor QM Environmental renovated the dam behalf of Sidney at the same time as the company remediated the pond for the federal government after it had acknowledged its responsibility for polluting the pond.

Sidney in late summer chose to piggy-back the renovation of the dam with the pond remediation because it meant that the pond, a fish-bearing habitat, would have to be drained only once.

But as McNeil-Smith acknowledged during Monday’s council meeting, the project ran into “unforeseen issues” when installing the sheet metal for the dam due to a deep layer of clay on the bank.

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“This caused a delay in the project as plans needed to be adjusted,” he said. “Then, the project was hit with unseasonable, heavy rainfalls, which further delayed work and created a new set of issues with flooding in the work zone. In the end, the project came together through the hard work and ingenuity of the contractors and consultants.”

The dam, along with its fish ladder, is now place for the upcoming salmon spawning season, he added.

Sidney’s original budget for the project was $900,000, with the federal government hiring QM Environmental for a price tag of $1.14 million.

What remains publicly unknown at this stage is what impact the delays had on Sidney’s share of the work as the municipality had signed a time and material unit rate contract. Such contracts see signatories agree to unit rates for the time and materials spent rather than a fixed, pre-determined sum. As such, they bear a greater potential for cost over-runs, a point that staff acknowledged in late summer.

A small share of the work on the dam remains incomplete. Kully said minor rock work, installation of handrails and signage around the dam remain outstanding.

“We hope to have all of this complete in the coming weeks prior to the new year, but it will depend on the manufacturing of the handrails,” she said.

Sidney can learn more about the project during the next virtual town hall hosted by McNeil-Smith scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 25, beginning at 6 p.m.

The municipality also plans to seek public input over the winter and into the spring of 2021 for enhancing nearby Reay Creek Park.


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wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com

Sidney