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Town of Picture Butte provides update on 4th Street construction

Posted on July 26, 2022 by Sunny South News

By Erika Mathieu
Sunny South News

After several weeks of uncertainty, Picture Butte council held a special council meeting to discuss the ongoing construction along 4th Street.

The nature of the meeting was to discuss a cost increase request to the existing contract. Most of the July 18 meeting was closed to the public, as per the Freedom of Information and Privacy Act (FOIP).

Several community members publicly expressed concern and frustration over council entering into a closed session over the issue. Although there are strict parameters which must be met before municipal council may enter into a closed session, some residents expressed their concerns over what they perceived as a lack of transparency in the process.

According to a pre-meeting communications bulletin issued by the Town’s official social media channels, “the request to have a cost increase to the contract is the reason that work did not begin (on time) as previously communicated and as scheduled.”

Once the meeting came out of the closed session, Deputy Mayor Henry de Kok sponsored a motion that council “proceed with this project and approve the extra expenditures due to unforeseen circumstances provided that the contractor pays for half of the increase in engineering costs.” The motion was carried unanimously. Although exact figures were not discussed in the open portion of the council meeting, the Town later posted an update to Facebook on July 22 which explained “the increase in costs is rounded up to $50,000 which includes engineering and an increase in costs for concrete and pavement. The original budget for engineering and construction was $690,000.”

The Town put out an updated communications bulletin following the meeting to assure residents, that “construction was to commence July 25, and provided updated maps to direct local traffic to surrounding amenities during the upgrades. “At this time 4th Street from Highway 25 to 5th Street South will be closed to vehicular and pedestrian traffic.”

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