Smiths Falls water tower project hits $25.4 million

The Smiths Falls water tower – Laurie Weir photo

The design for the new water tower for the Town of Smiths Falls is being finalized, but the scope of the trunk watermain project for the east end of town includes a full reconstruction.

Jason Barlow, manager of water and wastewater for the town, alerted council on Monday, Feb. 26, that they approve a change order to a limit of $281,972 to complete the detailed full reconstruction design along the trunk watermain upgrade route.

In 2023, council approved the report to award the design of the new water tower and trunk watermain to EVB Engineering.

“As discussions have progressed, Director Paul McMunn has brought forward the need to expand the scope of the trunk watermain project,” Barlow said.

It’s not just the 16-inch watermain that needs to be included, but Barlow said they now have to do a full reconstruction of the areas for the new installation.

This will be achieved in three phases: Empress Avenue and King Street; Rideau Avenue South (from King Street to Lorne Street); and Lorne Street (from Rideau Avenue South to the watermain easement), and the watermain easement.

The watermain easement is parallel to the rear property of 99 Lorne St. (Canopy Growth facility) and extends to the location of the new water tower.

All three phases should be designed concurrently to ensure all phases of the project can be staged accordingly, as well as to ensure continuity of service for residents between phases, the report states.

Coun. Jennifer Miller asked for input on the design of the water tower.

“If we do have selection and can have an input on that – we’re going to have to look at it for a very long time — it would be nice to have a peep before we made a final decision on what it’s supposed to look like.”

Barlow said the design should be ready for a look by early March, “so we should have that in our hands fairly soon and I’m sure that we will present any options that come from that to council before we move forward with the tender process.”

Coun. Peter McKenna asked if there could be access to water at the new Corbett Park off Empress Avenue, “either for a new splash pad, or watering a playground, or mini forest that is going in?”

Barlow said that project hasn’t been completed and there is still time to make some changes in those areas of phases one, two and three.

“I’m sure something like that could be rolled into that package,” Barlow said.

The Smiths Falls wter treatment plant. – Laurie Weir photo

Council opted with the recommendation to approve the scope change and associated costs to allow design efforts to continue without interruption, ensuring construction through Phase 1 can commence summer 2024. There are inherent synergies with this approach as EVB has already completed much of the pre engineering works to allow an easy transition to detailed design of the whole trunk watermain route.

There is $5 million budgeted for Phase 1 of the three-phase project to complete full reconstruction through the trunk watermain route at an overall estimated cost of $15 million.

The Class D estimate previously provided by EVB had a 20 per cent contingency included. The Class D estimate will be refined as the detailed design progresses to completion when a Class A estimate will be provided prior to tendering. It is anticipated that no additional funds will need to be added to the budget to support this scope change.

The water tower project – costing $24.5 million — will be located on Air Care Drive, and is expected to hold up to five times the volume of the current tower, which will address the water storage capacity deficit and meet the recommendations set out by the province’s Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks.

According to a Nov. 1, 2023, report from the public works department, the estimate for the water tower portion of the project, paired with the estimate for the trunk watermain work, amounts to $24,550,000.

The town was successful in securing funding from the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP) – Green Infrastructure Funding Stream for $3,666,500.

A 5,050 m 3 water tower is estimated at $7.65M with $2.2M being estimated for associated site servicing works, which totals $9.85M. This increased cost from the original MCEA cost of $6 million is attributed to inflationary costs over the last four to five years.

The route for the 16” trunk watermain navigates streets that have aged original infrastructure (roads, sidewalks, curbs, sanitary sewer mains, watermains, and services to properties). The Public Works Department completed camera inspections (CCTV) of the combined sewers this past summer, and the sewers and structures are exhibiting characteristics that suggest they should be replaced as part of this project.

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