On Monday, Qualicum Beach council awarded the Memorial Avenue Phase 3 upgrades to Parksville company, Koers and Associates Engineering Ltd. Phase three would include a roundabout at the intersection of Memorial Avenue and Highway 19A. — Lauren Collins photo

Memorial Avenue in Qualicum Beach upgrades one step closer to completion

Councillor concerned about cost of upgrades

While phase three of the Memorial Avenue upgrade could be underway by early 2018, one councillor says not enough information on the project has been provided.

On Monday (Aug. 21), Qualicum Beach council voted to award a contract to Koers and Associates Engineering Ltd. to finish the phase three Memorial Avenue upgrades, which would include Beach Creek enhancement, a roundabout at Highway 19A and bike path completion. Councillors Barry Avis and Anne Skipsey voted no.

Phase three is expected to be ready for tender and construction in early 2018.

The town originally put out a call for proposals in June. John Marsh, finance director, said three engineering firms contacted the town, but only two submitted bids.

RELATED: Town of Qualicum Beach looking for proposals for Memorial Avenue phase 3

Skipsey said she didn’t see anywhere in the agenda document that phase three is a nearly $7 million-project, adding the document did not talk about the financials, which was an “oversight.”

She said she would have a hard time voting in favour of the contract, adding the money could go to other projects such as new park space, a turf field or a swimming pool addition.

The document states the financial implications of the project, noting the town’s 2017 Memorial Avenue Capital Budget has “sufficient monies to fund the engineering work.”

It also states the preliminary Class C Memorial Phase 3 estimate is $6.8 million.

Last Wednesday (Aug. 16) at a committee of the whole meeting, engineering director Bob Weir gave a presentation on phase three of the ugrades.

Weir said Class C cost estimates contain large contingencies, “until we understand fully the environmental requirements and final design details.”

Weir said the Class C cost estimates for phase three include $1.7 million for the bike path and overlay from Village Way to Crescent Way, $1.745 million for the Memorial Avenue/Highway 19A roundabout and $2.22 million for the foreshore, Beach Creek and estuary improvement.

“This is probably the component for which we have the least understanding and probably the most conservative estimates, because we don’t really know until we advance that design a little bit further,” Weir said at the Aug. 16 meeting, adding there is a substantial contingency allowance just to provide some “conservative buffer” in case things change.

Weir also said the town is “actively engaged” in three additional grant application processes.

RELATED: Memorial Avenue in Qualicum Beach gets funding boost

At Monday’s meeting, Skipsey said there wasn’t enough information provided on the Beach Creek enhancement, and there was no backup data regarding accident statistics in roundabouts.

“I feel like there’s not a lot of information here for me to make an evidence-based decision,” Skipsey said.

Weir previously said cars enter roundabouts at a much slower speed. He also said with roundabouts, the pedestrian crossings are short, with a point of refuge in between.

“We certainly think this is a much safer solution. It provides a calming element for people approaching the waterfront,” said Weir.

lauren.collins@pqbnews.com

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