South Algonquin awards tender to BEI Construction for Airy trestle rehabilitation

At their Oct. 6 meeting, it was revealed that South Algonquin Township council had awarded the tender SA 2021-02 for the rehabilitation of the Airy pedestrian bridge or trestle to BEI Construction in the amount of $219,989 plus HST. Toward the end of their meeting, in a motion brought forth by Councillor Joe Florent and Councillor Dave Harper, council voted unanimously to proceed with BEI Construction undertaking the trestle’s rehabilitation.

The Airy trestle’s rehabilitation was first discussed at the township’s Asset Management meeting back in February. Councillor Bongo Bongo said it was a local piece of infrastructure that made Whitney truly unique and was beloved by the entire community. He said it had last been rehabilitated in the 1990s.

Dave Gatley, the public works superintendent, gave council a cost benefit analysis of the trestle’s restoration at their last council meeting on Sept. 1. He provided them with three options and their corresponding costs, recommending that the township proceed with option two, which would cost $139,573.02, to be taken from reserves, a 5.6 per cent withdrawal. The balance of the project will be covered by a $100,000 grant from the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program: COVID-19 Resilience Infrastructure stream. After discussing it, council agreed to proceed with the second option.

Bonnechere Excavating Inc. or BEI Construction was founded in 1989 and began as an equipment rental business and then began subcontracting by 2000. By 2003, they began tendering, managing and completing projects as a general contractor. They have also become active in the aggregate and asphalt business and the acquisition of Corrington Engineering Inc. in 2021 added this expertise to the company portfolio.

At their meeting on Oct. 6, council discussed awarding the tender for the Airy trestle rehabilitation to BEI Construction, in the amount of $219,989 plus HST. With the second option council voted to proceed with back in September, the trestle will be restored using Douglas fir for the structural members and spruce for the railings, with all features to be designed by an engineer.

Mayor Jane Dumas asked if there was any discussion, and Harper said that he still thought that the MNRF should chip in to help pay for the rehabilitation work, as Algonquin Park derives as much if not more benefit from the trestle than South Algonquin does. Bongo had refuted that notion at the township’s last HR/Admin/PR meeting however, stating that since South Algonquin owns the infrastructure, they are solely responsible for maintaining it and he also felt that negotiating with the MNRF would only delay the rehabilitation, which is badly needed.

Dumas thanked Harper for his comments, and hearing no further discussion, called the vote brought forward by Florent and Harper. Council voted unanimously to go ahead with awarding the tender to BEI Construction to rehabilitate the Airy trestle for $219,989 plus HST.
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