Metro Vancouver officials say the construction company building its new North Shore Wastewater Treatment Plant has laid off a significant amount of staff and halted the project, after already revising an agreement to allow another 2.5 years to finish the build.
The new plant had originally been scheduled for completion by the end of 2020 at a cost of $700 million, but the timeline is now uncertain and may be closer to 2023 at a cost of more than $1 billion, Metro Vancouver officials said.
The officials added that the construction company has already missed “key milestones” on the project.
Acciona Wastewater Solutions LP is responsible for the construction, but has yet to publicly comment on the project’s halt. The North Shore project is still listed under the company’s active projects on its website.
Subscribe to our Newsletter!The latest environmental engineering news direct to your inbox. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Metro Vancouver officials told local media that they had no previous knowledge of the pending layoffs and currently consider the construction project to be “abandoned”, despite work appearing to continue at the West 1st Street site near Philip Avenue. Estimates about the staffing drop on the project suggest that the crew reduced in size during the last week of September from 300 to about 50 workers, despite the already significant construction delays.
The initial project extension request from Acciona noted difficult ground conditions, space requirements and geotechnical complications.
The company, a global infrastructure and renewable energy group, currently has other projects underway in Vancouver that appear to be on budget and on schedule.
The new North Shore tertiary treatment facility will serve over 250,000 residents in the districts of West and North Vancouver, the City of North Vancouver, as well as Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations. Upon completion, it will be capable of treating 102 million litres per day under normal conditions and up to 320 million litres per day in wet weather conditions. It will replace the existing primary treatment Lions Gate Wastewater Treatment Plant on the North Shore.
The region has a number of wastewater upgrades currently underway as it races to meet new federal requirements and environmental standards for the treatment facilities.