Breaking News
Costs increasing for airport project

Costs increasing for airport project

Lighting improvements, COVID-19 protocols and inflation mean that Sechelt will be using more of the $3.18 million it has available for pavement repairs and a 214-meter airport runway extension.
Council approved funding sources for the project at its Feb. 17 meeting. In addition to BC Air Access grants totalling $2.35 million, Sechelt will allocate up to $796,000 from its gas tax funds to pay for the project. Director of Finance David Douglas commented that some of the municipality’s COVID-19 Re-start funding could be used to offset the $64,000 in pandemic protocol-related charges that project contractor Jakes Construction has added to its pricing.
Jakes increased its pricing for the contract by about $93,000 over its original bid on the work. In addition to the COVID-19 related costs, it noted that wage, equipment, and material prices had gone up in the time between the bid submission and the contract award.
The work is slated to begin this spring and to be complete by December. Exact costs for the project are difficult to forecast due to the “earthworks” involved. Projects involving land alterations can be complicated by things like soil types and subsurface conditions. Sechelt’s Manager of Construction and Infrastructure Renewal Sanath Bandara advised council that approximately 3,000 truckloads of earth “material” will have to be relocated on the site. Bandara stated that the plan is to reuse excavated material on-site rather than trucking materials in or out.
Lighting upgrades are another factor in the project’s cost change. Improving the lighting so that the airport is rated for Instrument or Visual Flight Rules is being considered. The site currently does not have either rating. Without this capacity, aircraft can only use the runway when visibility allows them to do so safely.
Improvements to the lighting were not included in the contract with Jakes. Staff have estimated that acquisition and installation of 35 to 40 upgraded lights could cost $600,000. They also noted that a grant in the range of $30,000 may be available to assist with this work.
Councillor Eric Scott, who chairs Sechelt’s Airport Development Select Committee and is a commercial aircraft pilot, said he thought that estimate “seems way out of whack.” Scott said that in recent discussions, the committee believed the costs would be in the $160,000 range. Staff agreed to report back to council after doing further research on lighting options and the availability of grant funding.
While councillors Alton Toth and Matt McLean voted in favour of the spending plan, each indicated that they had reservations about using gas tax funds for the project. Toth said he was “terrified” of the potential for cost overruns on this work. He also said that he reviewed the BC Air Access grant program criteria. Toth stated he believed Sechelt would not have been successful in receiving funding had it not applied to both expand the runway and improve the existing infrastructure. Connie Jordison

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Scroll To Top