Reconstruction of the Pier 20 wharf on the south side of
St. John’s harbour is being cancelled for this year because bids came in $1 million over the project estimate, according to the St. John’s Port Authority.
Because of the big difference over what they expected and what three companies bid in the tendering process, port staff have to do a full project review and that can’t be achieved in time to call the tender again for this construction season.
Taking another look
“It behooves us to go back and have another look and see if there is anywhere we can make changes, said Brian Smart, vice-president of operations for the port authority.
It’s hoped a revised tender can be called later this year or early next year for work to be done in the 2014 construction season.
Port officials say vessels can still berth at the existing wharf — which is mostly used by the fishing industry — and piers 19 and 21 can be used for all other activity, including loading and off-loading.
The wooden Pier 20 was acquired by the old national harbours board back around the 1960s and has had patchwork repairs over time, but has not been rebuilt.
The bids for its replacement ranged from $4.3 million to $5.3 million, with the lowest bid coming in $1 million more than project estimates.
The authority’s entire capital budget for the year is $6 million.
And it’s concerned there could be cost overruns beyond the Pier 20 bid, Smart said.
He said the authority will continue to monitor the wharf and any necessary repairs and maintenance will be carried out.
Meanwhile, though, the port authority has awarded a $1.1-million contract for a heritage-style fence restricting access on the north side of the harbour.
But the authority isn’t responsible for the entire price tag — the City of St. John’s is chipping in $425,000 towards the cost of the fence, which has been the subject of community backlash.
The authority insists the fence has to be erected to satisfy Transport Canada requirements as well as for health and safety reasons.
Clarke’s Trucking and Excavating Ltd. of Paradise will build the fence.