BROCKTON – The cost keeps going up for servicing the expansion to East Ridge Business Park.
In March, the cost was estimated at $6.3 million – a substantial increase from two years earlier, when the plan for the expansion was created. The reasons given included scope of the project – the stormwater storage pond needs to be deeper – and the fact the general cost of construction is going up.
On July 13, council received an update from Frank Vanderloo of B. M. Ross and Associates Ltd. on plans for the expansion. Now the municipality is looking at the possibility of having to build a sewage booster station at an estimated cost of $1 million.
The pumping station would eliminate the need for individual grinder pumps for certain properties, and reduce the sanitary sewer depth. In addition, it would allow for further development to the north.
Together with other added costs, the estimate for servicing the entire business park expansion is pushing close to $10 million.
Vanderloo explained in detail the reasons for the cost increases. A general inflation factor of five per cent was added to reflect what’s happening in construction. More extensive drainage work is required due to design changes. Proposed roads have changed. And all that requires updates to the plan, which involves a cost.
The East Ridge Business Park expansion is considered a significant project for the municipality, and one of considerable interest to developers.
During the meeting, council was told discussions are presently taking place with five interested parties.
The plan for the property involves not only areas for business and industrial development, but residential areas including townhouses.
There’s also a section of land set aside for municipal use, meaning no property taxes to offset the cost of developing the land. The location of that section has changed since March.
This has resulted in the need for the municipality to re-examine how servicing plans for the business park expansion will proceed.
Present plans are to phase in development beginning as early as this fall. The decision about the sewage pumping station will not have to be made for a while, since that’s included in a later phase.
Coun. Tim Elphick commented that investing in the future is necessary, but he termed the increase in cost for this project “shocking.”
He also remarked on the land set aside for municipal use.
“There’s no return for the taxpayer,” he said. “We’re using business park land which is getting very expensive.”
However, there’s clearly a strong interest in the business park.
“We’re getting a lot of inquiries,” said Mayor Chris Peabody. “One was from a developer. It’s very exciting.”
Coun. Kym Hutcheon commented, “If I were a developer, I would be watching this council meeting.”
The matter received additional discussion during the reports section and in camera portions of the meeting.
Council voted to go ahead with phase one of the expansion. A tender will be issued for construction of one road and partial construction of another, as well as the stormwater management pond.
A second tender will be issued for phase two once design and construction drawings are complete.
CAO Sonya Watson’s recommendation was to “approve the phases proceeding for an estimated probable cost of $5,013,856, pending tender results.”
Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times