Alpine Paving will once again pave Whistler's roads and trails this summer in a $1.46-million contract, but the asphalt will not come from its local plant.
Rather, council has opted to follow its previous policy of not accepting asphalt from the plant at Cheakamus Crossing and will instead pay an increased cost of $61,000 to truck the material from Alpine Paving's Squamish plant.
Despite the increased costs, Alpine Paving's $1.46 million bid is still far below the only other competitive bid (more than $2 million from Key-West Asphalt) and also 15 per cent lower than the municipality's estimated cost of $1.7 million.
Just two tenders were received despite substantial changes to the municipal paving program, which now sees Whistler go through a major road works program every three years, as opposed to annual, smaller projects. Part of the goal behind the change was to encourage competition by attracting more bidders.
"It's disappointing that we did only get the two tenders in," said Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden.
In his report to council, manager of transportation and solid waste James Hallisey said the low bid indicates "that the idea of a larger tender every three years had allowed the contractors to take advantage of the economies of scale and offer lower unit rates to get the work done.
"It was exactly what we were hoping to achieve with this change," he told council.
There are 20 areas of road reconstruction, two parking lots and three areas of trail — roughly 52,000 square metres, which is equal to 8,800 tonnes of asphalt — to be completed by the end of August.
The schedule is broken into two sections — high priority to be completed by June 27, and a later deadline of the end of August for the remainder.
The major road works include the east end of Village Gate Boulevard, a portion of Blackcomb Way from Sundial Crescent to Glacier Drive, the bottom portion of Glacier Drive, the south section of Nesters Road, a portion of Nicklaus North Boulevard, several sections in Whistler Cay, Nordic Drive near the highway entrance and the Lake Placid Road/London Lane loop in Creekside.
Valley trail reconstruction work will include sections along Lorimer Road near Day Lot 4, near Meadow Park Sports Centre, and sections of the trail from Blueberry Drive to the Whistler Golf Club clubhouse. The entry way/parking lot for Firehall 1 will be repaved, and the paving of Lakeside Park parking will also be completed.
An engineering study of the condition of all Whistler's municipal roads was completed at the end of 2013. It will be presented to council in the near future.
While on the subject of roads, council raised concerns about road painting.
"The highway lines are abysmal," said the mayor, adding that athletes are using the road right now for Ironman training.
Hallisey said they have been in touch with Ministry of Transportation and have been advised that the line painting will be completed by the end of July. Not perfect, he said, but better than before.
Transit agreement approved
Up to $6,000 has been set aside in Whistler's $10.5-million transit budget for a new TaxiSaver pilot program to help those with mobility issues get around.
The program is for those people who have accessed the Helping Hand program and are unable to be matched with a volunteer driver. TaxiSaver would see the Whistler Community Services Society coordinator arrange for taxi service in Whistler for the client. The transit system will reimburse WCSS for 50 per cent of the costs to a $6,000 annual maximum.
The pilot program comes as Whistler signs off on its 2014-15 Annual Operating Agreement for Transit, which will see the system maintain its current 2,000 service hours and run a fleet of 25 diesel buses until the end of March 2015.
Of the $10.5 million transit system, the municipality will kick in $3.36 million, with revenue pegged at $2.9 million and a BC Transit contribution of $4.22 million.