Soil test, ministry approval delay Chelsea, Quebec’s Meredith centre

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by Mark Burgess on March 11, 2010

Chelsea, Quebec has narrowed the applicants for the Meredith Centre’s construction contract down to five and officially requested an extension for the centre’s completion date from Quebec’s Ministry of Municipal Affairs (MAMROT).

Council’s request to the ministry is to extend the existing completion deadline of March 31, 2010 for an additional 15 months. Under the current agreement, the centre must be built by the end of this month in order to secure the $6.1 million grant from the federal and provincial governments. The minister must personally authorize the extension.

Mayor Caryl Green called the request a “formality.” She told a council meeting two months ago that a “verbal agreement” to extend the deadline had been secured and that she’d “been given quite a strong assurance.”

Eight companies submitted their qualifications for the Meredith Centre’s construction contract, of which five have been pre-qualified to bid once the invitation for tenders is sent out.

Just when the bidding will begin, however remains uncertain. The draft resolution for the extension states that “council wishes to initiate the bid for tenders process as quickly as possible but wants to obtain the Minister’s approval before proceeding ahead.”

Director-General Paul St. Louis said there is no fixed date for the building to start but that he’s putting all the pressure he can to get the approval quickly.

“The clock is ticking,” he said. “We’re aware of that.”

He wouldn’t speculate as to when he expects a response from the ministry.

Another possible delay could be to find a parcel of the Meredith land suitable to build on. After a second geotechnical study conducted last month again turned up unstable soil that would raise building costs significantly, council awarded a third contract for soil sampling to Qualitas for $12,900. The previous two contracts were worth more than $30,000 combined.

In other council news:

-  Council authorized a consortium of engineering firms – BPR-infrastructure/Dessau-Soprin – to seek government permits for the Old Chelsea, Padden and Scott roads wastewater treatment. Chelsea received financial support from the federal and provincial governments last summer. The engineering firms are needed to provide certification to Quebec’s Ministry of Environment that the project will conform to guidelines.

Green said residents would be consulted but that she first wanted to get costs for the project to avoid false estimates, as was the case with the Mill Rd sewer. “There will be public meetings on this,” she said.

-  Council amended the zoning grid to allow for a vintage car museum in Farm Point, beside the IGA

-  Notice of motions for future bylaws were presented for loans of $250,000 and $235,000 for road work; $36,500 for bollards to delineate bicycle paths, create an inventory of municipal culverts, set up a hazardous waste depot and renew the interior lighting ballasts in the town hall; $44,000 to rebuild the municipal garage’s exterior drainage

-  Another notice of motion was for a future bylaw to spend and borrow $310,000 for a shovel on wheels, a pickup truck, and to install an air exchanger at the fire hall, among other items

-  A $931,370 contract for 36 months of waste collection was awarded to Deneigement Lebel

-  Councillors Kay Kerman (Ward 4) and Peter Griffin (Ward 3) did not attend the meeting