First CFB Esquimalt jetty bids below estimate; biggest project on Island

The first construction phase of renewing the jetties at CFB Esquimalt could come in under budget, judging by the tenders submitted for what was expected to be a $72-million job.

Chaired by Michael Morris of Defence Construction Canada, Thursday’s public tender opening for the first phase of what will eventually be a $781-million project resulted in four bids under the $72-million mark.

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“It appears we are well under the estimate we carried, so that’s good news,” said Rick Gudz, DCC’s site manager in Victoria.

The lowest bid came from Westpro, a division of Quebec-based construction firm Pomerleau. It came in at $55.45 million.

The other bids were $61.8 million from EBC, $68.9 million from EllisDon/JJM and $69.2 million from Esquimalt Marine and Civil Partnership.

“This is a preliminary result,” Gudz stressed, noting the winning bid now goes to Ottawa to be evaluated and assessed before it is awarded.

The award could be made public as early as January, with work expected to start in the spring after the winning company completes industrial-security clearance.

“This $55-million project is a continuation of a long-term plan for major investment at CFB Esquimalt. This kind of investment translates to more demand, jobs and positive economic spinoff during construction for the capital region,” said Greg Baynton, chief executive of the Vancouver Island Construction Association.

Baynton said that in the long term, over what could be an eight-year buildout of the jetty-replacement project, the result will be greater capacity and more ships, which is a massive economic win.

The $781-million overall budget also will make it the largest construction project on the Island.

“Simply put, the region is the beneficiary of the activities of DCC and their client (the Department of National Defence). They are a primary contributor to our local and regional economy,” Baynton said.

Gudz said this initial project, designed by Stantec, will involve preparation work on the foreshore of the site, dredging and deconstruction of B jetty.

“The next contract will be the more substantial piece,” he said, noting that will be in the works for a couple of years.

It will involve rebuilding B jetty and the demolition and reconstruction of A jetty.

The two jetties were built during the Second World War, and are considered to be well past their service lives.

The new A and B jetty will be 307 and 277 metres long, respectively, compared with the existing jetties, which are 185 and 190 metres long.

Berthing space will increase by about a third to accommodate Halifax-class frigates as well as new vessels set to join the Pacific fleet beginning in 2018.

The jetty decks will be about 1.2 metres higher than the current decks to account for possible sea level rises due to global warming.

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