The only road repairs the city has planned for this year is the reconstruction of the eastbound lanes of Thompson Drive between Mystery Lake Road and Quartz Street.
Council voted 6-2 in favour of awarding a $1,093,000 tender for the reconstruction of that section of road to Maple Leaf Construction at their June 22 meeting, with councillors Jeff Fountain and Earl Colbourne opposed.
The intention had been to do milling repairs on five intersections in the city as well, but the bid price came in higher than the budget so that was removed from the scope of work and the extra work allowance for the project was reduced from $100,000 to $35,000.
“We won’t be doing any milling repairs this year and we won’t have any extra work allowance to work with,” said city development services director Harkamaljeet Gill. “We might not be able to carry out the quality testing we would like.”
“Unfortunately this year with the limited dollars we have, we had to choose a very tiny section,” said city manager Anthony McInnis. “That’s the only section that would fit our current budget this year.”
Colbourne said it would make more sense to do milling of other roads that don’t need complete reconstruction.
“It’s a lot of money for a short street,” he said. “I think if we concentrate more on milling right now with our budget situation we would definitely get more work done and it would look better in the public.”
Other councillors suggested that the city should team up with other northern communities for an asphalt plant to enable them to do their own paving at lower prices in the future.
“If we do not do something differently than we’ve been doing for many years, there’s years we’re not going to get no paving done and I don’t have to tell anyone in this room or outside of this room the condition of our streets in Thompson,” said deputy mayor Les Ellsworth. “It’s long overdue. I say we get together, we start lobbying, bring communities together in the north, get our own asphalt plant and let’s get some work done up here at a reasonable price. This is way out of whack.”
Coun. Duncan Wong suggested it might make sense to do roadwork every two years so that the larger dollar amount would be more attractive to southern contractors.
“I think I’m going to support this for this year but moving forward I’d like to see something change to see what the outcome would be,” he said. “Other than that it’s going to be same old, same old, same result.”
Mayor Collen Smook said putting road work off for a year is a gamble.
“The danger of waiting is the work that we don’t do on the area deteriorates and costs us more further down the line and we have no guarantees that waiting for a year is going to give us a better price on anything,” she said.