By Justin Seward
A project that has been in the works for eight years is inching closer to breaking ground at the County of Forty Mile municipal buildings.
County council is expected to get a virtual tour from Collier Project Leaders at the Sept. 9 council meeting as to what the expansion of the public works shop, additional bays in the Ag department and new offices will look like.
“They’re supposed to bring us kind of like a virtual tour of the building ,” said Steve Wikkerink, county reeve.
“Somehow they have a 3D program or some kind of a program that you can feel like you’re walking through the building and take a look at it. They really want our final answer because even right now, they’re ready to put it out for tenders. But Keith (Bodin, Chief Administrative Officer) said ‘You better bring this to council one more time,’ and just make sure before you send it to tender that we’re all good to go on it.”
Wikkerink says they hired Collier to work on their behalf to make sure what the municipality wants in the building gets done.
“Yeah, it’s costing us a little of bit of money up front. But we’re hoping with this company working on our behalf that we have less change orders,” said Wikkerink. “And then if you get change orders during construction, that’s very expensive. And with the county’s experience when they built the original shop, that was bit of a nightmare. So staff doesn’t want to go through that again and nor does council.”
In a May 2019 interview with the Commentator, Wikkerink said “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.”
The current county building’s time is up.
“We’ve been in there (current building) for close to 70 years,” said Wikkerink.
“If we’re going to build this out there and it’s going to be for 50 years plus, let’s not skimp on too much. Let’s build it right, put enough space in it, have enough extra office space, so if we grow, we have room to grow.”
The new administration building will be attached to the existing county shop, south of Foremost.
“We’re adding on to the north end of the shop and that’s going to be our Ag department, so our Ag department can move down and work together,” he said.
“Then the south end of the building, that will be administration (and) council chambers. Yeah, it’s coming along.”
-With files from Scott Schmidt,
Alta. Newspaper Group