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Uxbridge culvert project costs rise again

UXBRIDGE: The township will be digging a little deeper to cover the cost of the ongoing downtown culvert project after a recent staff report showed that the cost is now approaching $24 million. At the council’s meeting on Monday, September 9th, a report from treasurer Donna Condon detailed the latest cost estimate for the project after a year that has seen the beleaguered project delayed by several months because of a land acquisition issue. The project has been put on hold for a soil contamination issue, which has since been resolved. Ms Condon’s report explained that “based on the information we have available to us to date,” her estimates now peg the overall cost of the project at $23.7 million. In July 2018, as the project was preparing to begin, Ms Condon reported that the estimated cost was $17.6 million. The original estimate in 2012 pegged the potential costs at approximately $10 million. In her report, Ms Condon laid out the myriad of reasons that the cost has risen for the culvert project: the loss of an easement on the property next to 23/31 Brock Street, which resulted in the Township purchasing the land and the building occupied by Coffee Time and Circle K for a reported $3 million; a further $1.5 million in “delay costs of up to $1.5 million in escalation costs, extra overhead costs and delay cost adjustments for the contractor;” approximately $400,000 due to steel cost premiums because of steel tariffs put in place by the United States; and approximately $800,000 to clean-up contaminated soil that was found at the northern end of the project area earlier this year. The project is being funded through an agreement with the federal, provincial and regional governments that has each level contributing $2.5 million, or three-quarters of the original $10 million estimate. The rest of the cost is to be covered by the municipality. Among the revenue sources that the township will draw funds from for the culvert project includes funds from the Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund, development charges collected by the Township, asset preservation funds earmarked from the 2019 and 2020 municipal budgets, net rental income from the commercial tenants at 23/31 Brock St.; and proceeds from the sale of the Old Fire Hall on Bascom Street, which was previously to be used to cover costs from the construction of the new fire hall on Brock Street. The additional funds will be drawn from the Region of Durham through a debenture. Ms Condon’s report – which council voted to approve – recommended the Township debenture of $6.4 million this year, with an additional debenture in 2020 to cover the rest of the costs, not exceeding $13 million.

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