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Picture Butte council discusses sidewalk widening

Posted on May 4, 2022 by Sunny South News

By Kenyon Stronski
Sunny South News

Picture Butte’s 4th Street leading downtown has been dug up for several months now with a potential ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ appearing on the horizon. There are however a few more bumps in the road to be smoothed out before everything is said and done.

“I do need to update council on this one as some of the numbers I had previously are not correct,” began CAO Keith Davis. “We’ve already received a change order from East Butte (Contracting) for mobilizing and filling in the pit twice and I reference those costs in my memo. However, we’ve already paid them out so those extra costs round out to $17,000. With our budget, plus that change order, we’re sitting at around $655,000 with a $690,000 budget and adding the $17,000 gets us to $682,000, so right now, we’re just under budget of the original $690,000. If we are to consider extending the sidewalks to make them wider, we’ll be looking at an additional $27,000 over and above where we are right now, so that works out to about $709,000 which is about $19,000 that we haven’t budgeted for.”

Deputy Mayor Henry de Kok referred to the math, commenting that there was a slight issue and they’re only $9,000 over budget. “$655,000 plus $17,000 is $672,000 not $682,000.”

Mayor Cathy Moore added she couldn’t believe $17,000 was charged for the town to fill in the potholes twice, to where de Kok noted it was for the team digging up the street and ATCO subsequently making them fill it back in along with the extra work needed.

It was said that nothing has been heard from ATCO.

“Some of the numbers in my memo were misrepresented, but the decision does come down to whether or not we want to extend the sidewalk and do we want to allocate the estimated $27,000 to have them widened,” said Davis. “When I first did the memo on the additional $27,000, we felt we could budget but that is not the case any longer. We will be over-budget if we widen them.”

It was then asked by de Kok if the rising prices of pavement, concrete and asphalt were taken into account. “We’ve waited a year and I guarantee asphalt prices went up over the spring and I’m sure the contractor won’t want to eat those costs.”

Davis responded the discussion has not happened yet, however, when the project was first talked about it was agreed they would hold their prices.

“I’m not sure if that’s changed since then, I haven’t brought it up yet.”

Coun. Cynthia Papworth then added to the conversation, “Wasn’t it when we were talking about this beautification that we said it would be cheaper to do it rather than wait? Can we find that extra money to do it now rather than later? It’s exactly like our walking path.”

“It’s now or never otherwise that pavement will be ripped up for another 30 years,” added de Kok.

“And that’s our worst-case scenario,” said Davis. “As I read my memo, it doesn’t sound like ATCO are ever open for negotiations, but they are and we just haven’t finalized costs of committed to anything. The numbers will stay if we don’t get anything back from ATCO, but we are asking for that extra $17,000 to be paid back to us because ATCO were the one that shut us down. Whether or not they agree to that, they haven’t said but they’re open to it and understand that they shut us down and it has incurred costs. They’re also aware that if they had to upgrade their gas line then they would be up for the cost of removing asphalt and everything but since we’ve already undertaken it they don’t have to shoulder that cost, and we are the ones who are. They’re willing to work with us, we just haven’t nailed down a final commitment.”

A motion began for council to approve the additional $27,000 for the sidewalk which was passed unanimously.

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