City hall recognizes roads budget as an investment

meeting with Coun. Matt Allard, chair of city council’s infrastructure

MHCA meets with IRPW chair Matt Allard

The MHCA put procurement process and policies, along with investment in street renewal, on the table Tuesday at a meeting with Coun. Matt Allard, chair of city council’s infrastructure renewal and public works committee.

Allard was reappointed to lead the IRPW committee when Mayor Brian Bowman announced his new executive policy committee last week. Allard was first elevated to IRPW chair last year, when Coun. Marty Morantz stepped down, signalling his intent to run for federal office.

“It was reassuring to hear the councillor speak of the street renewal program as an ‘investment,’” MHCA President Chris Lorenc said. “The fact is that there is huge economic value in a strong core infrastructure program. Clearly Coun. Allard sees that and was interested in how Winnipeg’s procurement policies and process can be improved to get more value out of those budgets.”

Lorenc was joined by MHCA Board members Henry Borger, the outgoing chair of the City of Winnipeg committee, and Dennis Cruise, who is Borger’s successor for 2019.

The hour-long meeting included discussion about earlier rollout of the city’s construction tenders, which hinges on much earlier tendering of the design engineering requirements for road works; the advantages of using quality-based selection for the design engineering contracts; the cascading impact on city costs when construction contract tenders are delayed in the season; and, the benefits to Winnipeg and other municipalities with a discussion about a new fiscal deal to move provincial and federal governments to recognize and compensate for the limited financial capacity of municipalities in cost-shared infrastructure agreements.

“We also noted that the MHCA is very much looking forward to being involved in the working group the mayor has spoken publicly about, to scope out the ways in which street construction can be done more efficiently, to minimize as much as possible disruption to commuters and business,” Lorenc added.

“That working group needs the participation of MHCA, the engineering community and the Winnipeg Construction Association because some items in that discussion are more complicated than they appear initially.”

The 2019 Operating and Capital Budget discussions will get underway soon at city hall. Typically, the city presents its draft budget in late November or early December, but with the fall election, that will move the process a month or so down the calendar.

Read the full Heavy News Weekly

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