Smiths Falls water tower build awarded to Landmark Structures Co.

Councillors are pondering what will happen to the old water tower in Smiths Falls as a new one will be built on Air Care Drive that will hold six times the amount of water. – Laurie Weir photo

The new Smiths Falls water tower is expected to be in use by the end of 2025 and will hold over 5,000 cubic meters of water – nearly six times more than the current one, which is at the end of its 100-year life span.

The director of the town’s public works department, Paul McMunn, said they had just one bid on the new elevated water storage tank, and that came from Landmark Structures Co. Designed by EVB Engineering, the new tower will be located on Air Care Drive, and will have lots of storage options in the base of it. He brought his recommendation to council during a regular committee meeting on Monday, April 15.

McMunn said Landmark Structures Co. has built more than 1,000 elevated and ground water storage tanks.

There is currently $4,655,000 budgeted for this project (2023 carry forward + 2024) with the balance of $5,145,000 to be budgeted in 2025. The total projected budget for the project was endorsed at $9,800,000. Landmark’s bid price of $9,663,129.60 (inclusive of net HST) is within the anticipated budget projections for this project, McMunn said.

Mayor Shawn Pankow asked if the capacity of the new storage tank would meet the demands of the town’s population growth. The current water tower has just over a 900 cubic metre capacity, McMunn said, so more than enough storage will fill the need.

Pankow also asked about the funding and if the 2025 portion would be on the town, or would there be opportunities for more grant funding.

McMunn said they weren’t expecting the inflationary costs to see the project balloon by nearly 50 per cent next year.

“We have $3.66 million in funding (for 2025) with the balance being funded by the town,” McMunn said, as they expect shovels in the ground this summer.

Coun. Jay Brennan said he was nervous about the $25 million total cost of the water tower and the trunk main.

“What concerns me is when we built the water treatment plant and the arena, we had great support from the upper tier (provincial and federal governments),” he said. “We paid a third of the cost, basically. In this case, we’re not even close to that.”

Brennan asked if there was any funding available for the trunk main – which there hadn’t been to date, he said. “Surly we can get some grant funding for some of that … I would hope.”

Brennan supported the director’s recommendation. “It’s got to be done, but we need help with this. That would be my message to my friends in the provincial and federal governments.”

McMunn said there are opportunities for trunk main funding through the Housing Enabling Water Systems Fund, to which he will submit a grant application by the end of the week (April 19 deadline).

Brennan also asked what was going to happen with the old water tower.

There will be further discussion on this as the project moves along, McMunn said, as it will be in use until it’s decommissioned when the time comes.

Coun. Peter McKenna asked how long this new water storage tank would last, and the annual maintenance costs of it.

McMunn said Landmark noted it would last between 80 and 100 years, especially with a robust maintenance plan so it could achieve that 100-year lifespan. This could cost between $5,000 to $10,000 every three to five years for an inspection and spot repairs. Every 15 years, the plan would be doing an exterior coating inspection, spot repairs and overcoating.

“This is where the costs would get a little bit more exorbitant if you will,” McMunn said, as that cost could be between $300,000 and $400,000 every 15 years.

There are other costs over the years they would also need to plan for, like chlorine analyzers, ($30,000 every 20-25 years), interior coating replacement ($600,000) and exterior coating removal and replacement ($750,000 every 30 years).

McMunn said this is something they should plan for in their asset management plan to put money away in reserve for this maintenance. Any operating costs (communication services for alarms) are $100 per month; hydro costs, $150 per month; chlorine, $500 a month. This would be built into operating budget. Maintenance fees would be built into a reserve policy.

McKenna said this is a good policy to protect the investment.

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