Gatineau deals with pandemic
Municipal projects delayed by COVID-19
Gatineau officials have put nearly 30 infrastructure projects on hold because of the COVID-19 pandemic, including several in Aylmer. Hull-Wright district councillor Cédric Tessier made the announcement at the Executive Committee meeting on May 20, during a review of the pandemic’s impact on the city’s budget for 2020 construction projects.
With a projected $120 million in fixed spending in 2020, Tessier said the city had 129 projects lined up. He noted that 28 (22 per cent of funds) were at risk of not starting until next year, adding that things could potentially change. With 52 projects (40 per cent of funds) ready for construction, Tessier added that 21 projects (16 per cent of funds) had been directly affected by the work stoppage and that 30 calls for tenders (30 per cent of funds) had to be pushed back beyond May 11.
Tessier stressed that projects that don’t get completed in 2020 are not cancelled, but moved to a future date, noting that the advancement of certain projects depends on the time of year. “Certain projects can only be done in the summer,” he said. “If the call for tenders ends in August, unfortunately, it could be too late for construction this season for certain projects.” The financial repercussions from August to December will be evaluated.
In Aylmer, the city has put two projects on hold – the implementation of speeding moderations on rue Court and on rue North. Noting that many municipal projects had been late for many years, councillor Audrey Bureau said that the city had significant issues on completing projects even before the COVID-19 pandemic and that she is worried about what lies ahead for future projects. “Plenty of projects are years behind in our district,” Bureau said. “I’m just as concerned by these new delays, which will certainly have a domino effect.”
For the Deschênes district, two projects will be pushed back to next year - $31,000 concrete slab repairs at the Paul-Pelletier Aquatic Centre and $90,000 to replace play structures at Parc des Abénaquis. Councillor Mike Duggan said both projects would have been in the tendering stage by now.
In the Lucerne district, one project will have to wait much longer to come to fruition – the construction of a skatepark and a basketball court at Parc Renard. Passionate about adding more leisure infrastructure for teenagers in his district, councillor Gilles Chagnon said he’s going to do whatever he can to ensure that the project doesn’t get pushed back. With no estimated value so far, Chagnon said the project was waiting to be put up for a call for tenders in the fall.
The purpose of the presentation was to provide an update of the overall situation, calls for tenders and the financial impact of the pandemic on certain projects.
While it isn’t easy to tell the impact of government imposed work stoppages and the implementation of COVID-19 safety measures, Tessier said the progress of certain projects would certainly be significantly impacted. He added that the city would be able to better analyze the gravity of the situation in the coming weeks. Tessier explained that the lockdown period would have a domino effect on the advancement on different projects, noting that it didn’t only represent a seven-week delay. Because of the work stoppage, calls for tenders would be delayed, noting that they usually last three to six weeks depending on the scale of a project. With calls for tenders pushed back, Tessier said that some projects would have to wait until 2021 to begin because of the domino effect. On March 24, the Quebec government suspended all construction activities, except for those deemed priority. On April 28, the provincial government announced that construction activities would completely resume starting May 11.