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Public Access to West Breakwater Will Be Restored
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Brian Riggs

At a special meeting of Central Elgin Council on Tuesday evening, September 2, 2014, Brian Riggs of Riggs Engineering explained in detail exactly what repairs to the west breakwater were encompassed by the lowest bidder on the project, East Elgin Concrete Forming.

Brian Riggs said that in 2007 his firm had recommended roughly $2 million in repairs to the west breakwater. He said the east side of the west breakwater has seriously deteriorated and is in danger of total collapse. "We have seen this before," Riggs said.

The intent of the repairs is to preserve the integrity of the breakwater. The 2007 recommendation involved more work than was stated in this tender, so they tendered the work with the east side repairs only and they still came in over budget. The difference between the estimate and the low bid relates to access and delivery of concrete.

"The low bidder concluded they either had to put a portable batch plant on a barge or rebuild the top of the breakwater as a 3 m wide supply road. To construct the road they assumed dowelled and reinforced concrete similar to a previous Riggs Engineering design for the breakwater at Erieau where they were the successful bidder. They elected to use the supply road option," Riggs said. "If the top of the breakwater is rebuilt to Riggs Engineering details then this encompasses a large component of the costs of works that I did not include in the bid package or pre-tender estimate but was part of the original scope of work in our 2007 report. Since the cost of rebuilding the upper deck of the breakwater is in the low bid it represents good value to the municipality."

The reconstructed upper level of the breakwater may also reduce future costs associated with armour stone work at this location, dredging and the dredge containment cell and any other work necessary because of the land-based access on the breakwater, allowing both marine-based and land-based companies to bid on projects.

The meeting was called tonight because the low bidder said they could actually begin work on the project within the week and proceed at a rate of about 150 feet every 3 days if Council approved their bid and were holding back on a couple of projects while waiting on Council's decision.

Steve Gibson, Council's solicitor, was on had to give liability advice in Closed Session when the discussion inevitably turned to whether or not renewed public access would be granted once the west breakwater was rebuilt. That discussion to which the media and public were not privy took slightly more than half an hour. The railings to allow that public access are pegged at a $250,000 cost.

When Council came back to Open Session they approved repairs to the west breakwater at a $2.2 million budget to be funded from the Harbour Contribution funds that the Municipality received from Transport Canada in 2010, and will have no impact on property taxes. The expenditure is in keeping with the financial scenario created by Mark Conway of N. Barry Lyon Consultants in the 2009 Port Stanley Harbour Feasibility Study and Business Plan. They passed By-law 1775: being a By-law to Execute an Agreement with East Elgin Concrete Forming respecting Tender CE-26-14 Breakwater Repairs.

Council has awarded the tender for breakwater repairs to East Elgin Concrete Forming of Tillsonburg. The work includes repair and reconstruction of the concrete cap surrounding the west breakwater. Work will continue throughout the fall, weather permitting, and resume in the spring. As part of the rehabilitation process, public access along the west breakwater will be restored.

A summary of the total costs is as follows:
Construction contract: $1,625,000
Contingency: $150,000
Railing: $250,000
Engineering: $85,000
Total: $2,110,000

Mayor Bill Walters said, "Rehabilitation of the west breakwater to allow public access after being denied for so many years is an exciting development for the residents of Central Elgin as well as tourists. This is a project that current and past Councils have worked hard to achieve, and we have now come full circle and are able to give back to the people of Central Elgin what was taken away. Now that we are able to safely facilitate public access, opening up the breakwater is an opportunity to showcase and enhance the charm of our harbour."

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