Parksville council gave the go ahead for preliminary design work on a $3.8 million upgrade of 2.1 km of Temple Street.
Phase one, the preliminary design work, was awarded to Koers & Associates Engineering for $197,639 including 10 percent contingency and taxes.
The phase will bring the design to about 75 per cent complete with conceptual drawings and cost estimates for council and an open house early next year.
The design stage will include reviewing the current conditions and developing new ideas and options like separated cycling and walking paths, traffic calming measures, ways of dealing with drainage and the existing roundabout that everyone agreed aren’t working very well.
The work is also complicated by the number of old road classifications that exist along the length of the street.
Councillor Al Grier complained it was a lot of money just for design work and suggested four-laning the final two-lane stretch of Highway 19A through that area of the city should be a higher priority.
Chief administrative officer Fred Manson pointed out that the traffic light by the Temple Store will be done before this project and that discussions about major project priories would be better left for capital budget deliberations.
He said that four-laning the highway for roughly four blocks would be more like tens of millions of dollars, quite different from this project.
Mayor Chris Burger also pointed out that there are a number of development properties along that stretch and they are hoping to wait for a developer to pay for the work rather than the tax payers.
Grier also asked about awarding this contract without doing a public bidding process, but director of engineering Vaughn Figueira explained they reviewed statements of qualification (SOQ) for 17 consultants and “Koers was the overwhelming top consultant,” scoring 80 points over their nearest competitor’s 70.
He said they don’t compare price at that stage — “we have a good idea how much it should cost.” Instead they focus on getting the best consultant and that helps the city save money on the construction.
Phase two will be the detailed final design work and tendering process for phase three — construction.