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Collingwood water plant project ‘very much in our wheelhouse’: Kenaidan

Collingwood and New Tecumseth mayors, Collingwood’s CAO and representatives from Kenaidan met at town hall on Wednesday for a ceremonial signing of the new water treatment plant expansion contract
From left, Collingwood's CAO Sonya Skinner, President of Kenaidan John Goffredo, Collingwood Mayor Yvonne Hamlin, New Tecumseth Mayor Richard Norcross and Vice President of Project Development for Kenaidan Jesse House during a ceremonial contract signing for the town's water treatment plant expansion.

The Town of Collingwood and Kenaidan are ready to sign on the dotted line for the most expensive tendered project in Collingwood’s history.

Representatives from Kenaidan attended Collingwood town hall on Wednesday morning for a ceremonial signing of a contract between the company and the Town of Collingwood for construction of the town’s water treatment plant expansion.

“We’re looking forward to getting the community involved to get this thing built,” said John Goffredo, president of Kenaidan, adding that work is now starting to engage local labourers interested in working on the project.

The entire cost of the Raymond A. Barker water treatment plant expansion project is expected in the $270 million range, with an estimated date of completion in 2031 and more water capacity available as of August 2029.

Kenaidan was the lowest of three bidders for the construction, with their bid coming in at $212 million, which was a major increase from the original $60 million estimated in 2022 for the project work.

During a council meeting back in January, the town’s CAO Sonya Skinner clarified that the $270 million figure is broken down to the $212 bid, plus additional costs the town has incurred including completed engineering and construction work, pre-ordered equipment, inspection, records, and a contingency amount.

Jesse House, vice president of project development for Kenaidan, said the trend of rising municipal infrastructure costs is one being seen across the board.

“Unfortunately this has been fairly common in the recent term. We’ve seen this on all scales of projects, not just large-scale projects,” said House.

“It’s been a challenge to communicate. We rely on a whole bunch of supply chains. It can be difficult to run this business with price uncertainty.”

House said there isn’t one stand-out reason why the costs for major infrastructure projects are going up across the board, but points to material pricing, labour and shortages of certain types of equipment as contributing factors.

“It can be hard to pinpoint why,” said House. “The industry doesn’t have a lot of control over the pricing.”

House said there are many examples across Ontario and beyond where major infrastructure projects are coming in over budget.

“I would say (Collingwood) is much less over budget than some of them out there,” he said.

One of the reasons House said the Collingwood project was intriguing to Kenaidan was that some of their talent live in the area.

“Our general foreman lives in Collingwood, and our general mechanical foreman lives in Wasaga Beach,” said House. “It was very much in our wheelhouse.”

Since Kenaidan was formed in 1974, House said the company’s first water project was completed in the 1980s. Their first large-scale water treatment plant project was in Ajax in 1996, and the company has completed many water and wastewater projects over the years including projects in Toronto and Barrie.

House said about 30 per cent of Kenaidan’s business is in water/wastewater projects.

“It’s very important for everyone to bring this infrastructure to the Town of Collingwood. We’re very happy to be part of it,” said Goffredo.

For the town’s CAO Sonya Skinner, the signing of a contract marks the end to this part of a long and difficult process.

“A lot of kudos go to both municipal teams... because it is a complex project,” she said.

Once the contract is officially signed, House said work will start on the site. Residents passing by will notice fencing erected in the coming weeks.

“The key right now will be to get situated on site and pick up on our in-water works window... which is in the middle of July,” said House. “We’ll be making sure all our permits are in place so we’re set to hit the ground running.”

“We want to be part of the community, not just someone showing up to do work. We want to be partners in this,” said Goffredo.