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Edmonton arena construction could impact City of St. Albert projects

By: Victoria Paterson

  |  Posted: Saturday, Dec 14, 2013 06:00 am

CRANE DRAIN – City of St. Albert staff discussed the upcoming Edmonton arena project with council. The local staff is worried the massive project in Edmonton will act as a magnet to contractors, leaving few if any for other muncipalities. However, Mayor Nolan Crouse says he doesn’t see that happening.
CRANE DRAIN – City of St. Albert staff discussed the upcoming Edmonton arena project with council. The local staff is worried the massive project in Edmonton will act as a magnet to contractors, leaving few if any for other muncipalities. However, Mayor Nolan Crouse says he doesn’t see that happening.
FILE PHOTO/St. Albert Gazette

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The construction of the new arena destined for downtown Edmonton could have impacts on some upcoming city-sponsored construction projects here in St. Albert.

As part of the budget process, city council was alerted to the potential for costs to go up as a result of the arena. Groundbreaking on the arena is expected in 2014.

“It could have an impact on the availability of key trades,” said Tracy Allen, director of engineering for St. Albert.

The draft corporate business plan noted a potential 15 to 30 per cent increase in construction costs in 2015 over 2014.

“It is anticipated that there will be future increases in inflation due to competitive pressures of large scale regional projects, including the downtown arena,” the draft report reads.

Allen said the 30 per cent estimate comes from costing research, which included a look at construction cost increases in Winnipeg during the building of a similar project.

“That is one possibility though I don’t see it as the most likely one,” she said of that 30 per cent increase. “Would that happen here? Hard to say. We flagged it just as heads-up that the arena construction will most likely have an impact on some of our projects. To what extent, though, it’s a bit premature to confirm.”

Such costs and availability can vary, Allen said. She said when construction started on the first leg of Anthony Henday, it was impossible to get cement. In 2007 when the province was booming, it was hard to get any responses to tenders. But there can be cost savings as well.

“The last couple years we’ve seen better than anticipated road reconstruction overlay prices because Alberta Transportation has cut back on the volume of their work,” Allen said. ‘It varies.”

In the case of construction projects in St. Albert, Allen said if there is an impact felt, she expects it to be in terms of people power and not construction materials.

“It could have an impact on prices or conversely it may open up the door for some other guys to get their foot in,” Allen said.

In the draft budget, the project charter for the 50+ club’s rehabilitation and expansion notes the effects of the arena could be felt. Allen said that could be mitigated by the timing of the tender.

“If council approves the … 50+ building and we go out for tender and we get people locked up, then it’s not going to have any impact on us at all,” Allen said.

Mayor Nolan Crouse said from his personal viewpoint, he doesn’t see an impact in 2014 from the arena.

“We might see a blip in 2015. I don’t know how serious it’s going to be because it’s not like you’re supercharging the provincial economy,” Crouse said. “It’s one project so I don’t think we’re going to see an impact in 2014, personally.”


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