Metro Vancouver finds new contractor for delayed North Shore WWTP

Metro Vancouver officials shared an aerial rendering of how the North Shore Wastewater Treatment Plant may look once construction has potentially been completed in 2024 under the replacement general contractor. Photo Credit: Metro Vancouver

After terminating its contract with Acciona Wastewater Solutions LP last fall, following the stalled construction of the North Shore Wastewater Treatment Plant, Metro Vancouver has now hired PCL Constructors Westcoast Inc. at a cost of $40 million to act as general contractor on the project that’s already more than two years behind schedule.

Metro Vancouver officials are currently developing a revised project budget and schedule with its new project partners, they announced.

To fill the role of the design consultant, Metro Vancouver staff indicated in a Special Liquid Waste Committee meeting that they are working collaboratively with AECOM senior leaders to allow them to assume “Engineer of Record” responsibilities and obligations for the new plant, including both the constructed and future works.

“Metro Vancouver has developed a contract approach to bringing in the general contractor that allows for completion of design and progress on construction in the shortest possible time frame while still planning for tenders or work packages that could be bid on to keep overall costs of delivery competitive,” states a staff report at the last Liquid Waste Committee meeting. “The approach allows for maximum agility and opportunities for competitive pricing, and is driven by schedule without sacrificing the need for competitive pricing,” the report continues.

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The new North Shore plant on West 1st Street had originally been scheduled for completion by the end of 2020 at a cost of $700 million. Now, the timeline is uncertain and may be closer to 2023 at a cost of more than $1 billion, Metro Vancouver officials said.

Following the termination of the previous general contractor, Metro Vancouver’s RFQ was on the market for three weeks in December before it closed. The region shortlisted Aecon Water Infrastructure Inc. and Graham Infrastructure LP, but eventually selected PCL Constructors Westcoast Inc.

It had been a point of contention between Metro Vacouver and Acciona Wastewater Solutions LP about precisely what caused the delay and ultimately led to the end of the contract. The municipality claimed that Acciona had laid off a significant amount of staff and then essentially “abandoned” the project. However, Acciona officials responded that the company had merely “streamlined” its efforts in terms of the labour force, and added that the region owes the company some $100 million in outstanding payment for contracted work.

The new treatment plant is being built to serve 250,000 residents in the Districts of West and North Vancouver, the City of North Vancouver, and the Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations.

The project is expected to improve the quality of the treated wastewater released into the Burrard Inlet, feature a modern, enclosed design and robust odour control system, and recover heat for use by the Lonsdale Energy Corporation as an alternative energy source.

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