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County of Forty Mile council hoping to avoid past problems as expansions loom

Posted on May 7, 2019 by 40 Mile Commentator
County of Forty Mile Reeve Steve Wikkerink

By Scott Schmidt

Alberta Newspaper Group

Forty Mile council is looking to avoid problems of the past as it prepares to build new offices and expand the county shop.
Reeve Steve Wikkerink says the county has “gotten burned” recently on large capital projects, and council hopes hiring an outside company to act on its behalf could be the flame retardant it needs.
“We think the money to pay this firm to oversee this, we could gain that much money back in efficiencies,” he said. “We had a real bad experience (when we) built the original shop, and the contractor more or less went belly up about halfway through and walked away.
“We had to rehire somebody who had to catch up … and then finish the project — it was just a complete ugly mess.”
Forty Mile has agreed to hire Colliers Project Leaders, which has already laid out for council its process for this specific build and expansion through the first three phases of the project.
“They will meet with our staff, figure out what our needs are — especially with the office — if we’re going to build a new office, what do we need,” Wikkerink said. “They will come up with the general plan … and can figure out pretty close dollar figures for what this build will cost us.”
This, the reeve says, allows council to make informed decisions throughout the project should budget parameters call for it. The company would have representatives on site throughout the build, acting as a watchful eye for the county, able to find “deficiencies, change orders, or others problems so we can prevent this ‘getting burned’ stuff.”

County briefs

— Approved 2019 capital budget of $7.7 million. About $2 million of that will go toward the county’s new offices and shop expansion, with the rest going to fleet purchases and equipment.

— Road bans were lifted April 29;

— SMB Apps gave a presentation on the benefits of developing a smart-phone app for the county, something several neighbouring jurisdictions have gone to. Wikkerink says the county will hear from another company in the next week or do, then likely hire one to launch develop and launch a Forty Mile County app;

— No one attended a public hearing to oppose a zoning change that would shift a portion of agricultural district shifted to solar energy. The request required an amendment to the Land-use Bylaw to accommodate a project from Alberta Solar One Inc. The second and third readings followed the public hearing and the motion was approved;

— Approved $104,000 requisition for waste management;

— Declined to contribute funding toward Bow Island airport runway lighting and rehab project:
“We’re already doing a joint-funded project with Bow Island and (Alberta) Transportation on putting in turning lanes off the No. 3 highway at the airport intersection,” Wikkerink says. “Because we are already putting money into that, council decided not to take part in this one for now.”
Wikkerink says Bow Island was already about 75 per cent of the way toward its funding need for the runway lighting project through a grant. It wasn’t an easy decision, he says, as Forty Mile council understood why the town might seek assistance on the project, as much of the air traffic at the airport is agriculture related.
“It’s just the way our budget is right now,” Wikkerink said. “It’s so stinking tight that we had to say no for now.”

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