Senior Infrastructure department officials say they have heard the concerns of the heavy construction industry regarding the scoping and scheduling of large construction projects, in particular the contracts associated with the Lake Manitoba-Lake St. Martin outlet channels.

That was among the outcomes from a meeting between industry and the senior officials earlier this month, MHCA President Chris Lorenc told the association’s Executive Committee.

“Our concerns regarding the scoping of the construction contracts, and the ability of the local industry to respond in the bidding process, were discussed along with the schedules, which appear to present very tight deadlines,” Lorenc told the Executive Committee which met September 22. “The department understood the need to size the projects such that local as well as extra-provincial contractors were able to bid.”

The senior department officials also reassured the MHCA that it is working toward releasing multi-year highways capital budgets, with the ultimate goal being annual and five-year investment plans.

The update to the Executive Committee was among a number of items discussed at the meeting Wednesday. Other priority items included were:

  • Lorenc and MHCA Chair Nicole Chabot met with interim Premier Kelvin Goertzen September 16 to impress upon the provincial government the need to invest public dollars strategically to enable economic growth, and reassert the MHCA’s six principles for core infrastructure investment, which also underscores the goal of economic growth.
  • A summit hosted September 8 by the Canadian Construction Association, Economic Development Canada and the Western Canada Roadbuilders & Heavy Construction Association on the need for a significant increase to national investment in trade gateways and corridors found unanimous and vigorous support for the concept. The next steps include a public release of a report out of the summit, which attracted leaders from a number of industries and sectors across the economy, and various organizations presenting the case to respective politicians in their provinces.
  • The provincial Quarry Rehab Program review by an advisory committee has discussed a number of issues for a revitalized program, including set backs from property lines and adjustment to the levy collected from the aggregate producers

The Executive Committee members also discussed the format for a possible MHCA Chair’s Gala in 2021. Further discussion will take place at the September 29 Board of Directors meeting, with consideration of various kinds of settings, in light of Manitoba’s public health restrictions on large indoor gatherings.

Featured image: The Lake Manitoba-Lake St. Martin outlet channels project. (KGS Group)

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