/MH to proceed with scheduled capital projects 
IGA Road has been in poor condition for many years. Its construction is scheduled to take place later this year. /CHAD INGRAM

MH to proceed with scheduled capital projects 

By Chad Ingram

Township of Minden Hills will proceed with tendering the roads
construction and public works projects in its 2020 budget amid the
COVID-19 crisis, councillors decided at an April 30 meeting.
and staff took part in that meeting remotely using online
teleconferencing platform Zoom, with the meeting broadcast via YouTube.
The province has granted municipal council permission to conduct
meetings electronically amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The province has
also issued restrictions on construction for all but “critical”
infrastructure and public works director Travis Wilson told councillors
part of what they had to consider was whether they thought the projects
on the list met that criteria.
“As council is aware, we have many
projects planned for 2020,” said Wilson. Those projects include the
rehabilitation of the Sunnybrook bridge in downtown Minden; the
reconstruction of IGA Road; a drainage project on Shetland Road; repairs
to the Salerno Lake Road bridge; resurfacing; gravel resurfacing; a
rehabilitation project on Milburn Road; sloping at the Scotch Line
landfill; and the closure of the Irondale landfill.
“All projects
are considered essential and critical,” Wilson said. “Some can be
difficult to believe that they are critical and the reason for that
would be the condition they have been in for such a long time. IGA Road,
Bobcaygeon [Road] have been in poor condition for a long time, so to
say that it’s critical the work is completed can be questioned.”
report is just seeking some direction from council with regards to
continuation of these projects in 2020,” Wilson said. The resurfacing
projects have already been tendered, and Wilson told council the tender
documents for the rest of the projects were basically ready to go.
additional consideration for council, Wilson explained, was whether the
township would be willing to assist the contractors who win the jobs
with the additional costs they will accrue due to safety protocols
associated with the COVID-19 outbreak. Companies will have to send more
vehicles to keep employees safely separated, meaning heavier mileage,
for example. More accommodations could be required.
“And that’s for
consideration to council, whether they would consider any additional
costs or splitting some of the costs with these contractors, in good
faith, for the fact they do have some additional fees ahead of them,”
Wilson said.
Wilson said an additional consideration for council was
that grants may be on the way since typically in times of economic
recession ­– in the years following the 2008 recession, for example –
the provincial and federal government make large amounts of
infrastructure funding available to municipalities.
“We did see a large investment from the government [following the 2008 recession],” he said
Wilson added that a risk of deferring projects might be price gouging
that may occur later once the construction industry is fully re-opened.
Deputy Mayor Lisa Schell was in favour of proceeding with the projects.
of the concerns I have, is that some of these things, I feel, yes,
they’ve been that way for a long time, but I still consider them
critical,” Schell said. “IGA Road may have looked the way it does for
many years, but that doesn’t make it any less worthy to be fixed.”
said that unless the projects that have yet to be tendered come in way
over budget, she’d prefer to put any infrastructure grants the township
might receive toward other projects on the township’s to-do list of
roads work. “So that we can get ahead in the roads department, rather
than continually getting behind,” she said.
Councillor Bob Carter said he’d prefer to put grant funding the township might receive toward some of the 2020 projects.
“Both levels of senior government are going to be looking to start the economy up through infrastructure,” Carter said.
council decided to proceed with the projects in a 5-2 vote, with
construction expected to begin in late summer/fall.