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TBM makes plan for residents to share contractor during construction

After hearing from a resident who is having a hard time finding a contractor to upgrade his private sewer and wastewater lines, the town agreed to allow residents in the construction zone to piggyback private works (billed separately) on town project
Work continues on the Thornbury West reconstruction Phase 1A.

Homeowners in Thornbury will have the opportunity to hire town-engaged contractors for work on private property during a significant reconstruction project planned for next spring.

The idea came from a resident and former councillor who said it's getting difficult to get contractors to take on small jobs on residential property. 

Bill Abbotts brought his request to the committee of the whole meeting on June 6 to ask The Blue Mountains council to support the idea for the Thornbury West reconstruction phase 1b project, which will begin next spring with a tender awarded this fall. The idea would be that any private work for residents in the construction zone could be billed to the residents on a time and materials basis. 

Abbotts said at his property alone the reconstruction work the town is undertaking will require him to replace a galvanized water line, correct a Y sewer line with his neighbour and bring the storm sewer line to his house for sump pump discharge.

“I’ve attempted to line up contractors and nobody will come in,” said Abbotts. “I’ve chatted with many of my neighbours and many agree.”

Work on phase 1a of this project started in June 2022 and is expected to be complete in August 2023. The two projects include sewer, watermain and storm sewer upgrades/replacements, along with related road work and upgrades. More information about the scope of the work is available here.

Town staff gave the suggestion from Abbotts a full endorsement.

“There is a lot of work that will be required on private land,” said Shawn Carey, director of operations. “This makes the most sense. It will be more efficient for the town and probably for our residents.”

Carey said he expected allowing the town contractors to do work on private property would work out to be cleaner, quicker and cheaper for local residents. Carey said it is commonplace for municipalities to put a provisional time and materials charge item in a tender document for this type of reconstruction project.

“It will be easier for our residents,” he said. “It’s a benefit to all. It’s more efficient and cost-effective.”

Council supported a resolution approving the plan in a unanimous 6-0 vote, with Mayor Andrea Matrosovs absent. In the resolution, council directed staff to look at payment options for property owners who hire the town’s contractor during the project.

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About the Author: Chris Fell, Local Journalism Initiative reporter

Chris Fell covers The Blue Mountains and Grey Highlands under the Local Journalism Initiative, which is funded by the Government of Canada
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