Six months since construction
began on the sewage plant upgrades, Whistler is on course to receive $12.6
million in grant money from the provincial and federal government.
“It is looking quite positive
at this time,” said John Nelson, Capital Projects manager for the municipality.
“There are some decision
processes that have to be gone through by the provincial and federal government,
so we can’t speak for them, but we’re optimistic it will be approved.”
In order to receive the
grant, $20 million worth of work has to be completed by March.
Construction is ahead of
schedule, and contractor Graham Infrastructure is predicting the project will
only take 18 months, compared to the original 24-month estimation.
“When we hired the
consultant, we prepared a schedule that we and the consultant thought was
reasonable to build a plant of that size,” said Nelson.
“This particular contractor
came back with a schedule that would only take 18 months. Part of it was
because we had asked in the tendering process that the contractor be prepared
to get started quickly to do a good portion of the work before March 31
Graham Infrastructure also
has an incentive to get the project done earlier, since a shorter project means
more financial gain.
Work on the wastewater
treatment plant began in August, with the foundation laid this fall.
Construction has now begun on the walls of the facility, and the bulk of work
should be completed by the end of 2008.
The contractor is
experiencing some problems due to the heavy snowfall.
“The schedule was critical
for this project because of the infrastructure grant,” said Nelson.
The project is being funded
by municipal reserves, contributions from the federal and provincial
infrastructure program and financing from the Municipal Finance Authority
The $12.6 million from the
federal and provincial governments was approved in 2003, when the sewage
treatment plant project was estimated to cost a total of $20 million.
Costs have now risen to
$51.65 million, with the budget projected for 2007 alone amounting to $17.7
These increases stem from
escalating construction costs as well as the scope of the project changing to
include a state-of art composting facility.