Yellowknife city council voted in a special council meeting to give its sewer contract to NWT Construction Ltd.
The contract was for full replacement of water and sewer infrastructure on Hordal Road between Range Lake Road and Spence Road, which has suffered numerous breaks and repairs and is due for a replacement, according to city documents.
COVID-19 and extreme weather events in Texas have driven up the costs of supplies, making getting the work started an urgent matter, according to city administrator Sheila Bassi-Kellett.
But city staff said NWT Construction had standing offers for supplies and should be able to secure the supplies they need to do the work if the approval process moved quickly.
Further portions of Hordal Road, stretching between Spence Road and Finlayson Drive will be put to tender in 2022.
Engineering estimates for the work the city needed came to $3.4 million, with NWT Construction saying they would be able to complete the work for $3.12 million. RTL Robinson Enterprises Ltd also bid for the project, saying they would need $3.41 to complete the work.
AECOM, a company who consults with the city on engineering projects, recommended NWT Construction’s bid over the one proposed by RTL Robinson.
NWT Construction was also awarded a paving contract to pave sections of 54th Avenue, worth over $600,000.
Facing declining revenues, the city had pondered moving paving and sewer renovations, which both happen every year, to alternating years in order to save money.
That could have saved $7 million a year. But it would create significant maintenance challenges moving forward, Sharolynn Woodward, director of corporate services, told city councillors back in November.
The capital estimates portion of Yellowknife’s 2020-2021 budget — money designated for spending on infrastructure projects — was significantly lower than in the previous year, at $15.8 million compared to $24.2 million in 2019.
This is partly in anticipation of higher costs to come in subsequent years for projects like the new aquatic centre, which would more than double the capital budget.
Other popular projects, like trail expansions aren’t getting funding in this year’s budget.
A number of projects may have their timelines bumped back a year, because of the disruption the pandemic has caused, according to Woodward.
“We’re probably not going to get two years worth of work done in 2021,” Woodward said during budget deliberations in November. “We’ll do as much of that work as we can and as the budget allows.”