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Yorkton council denies tender for new airport terminal

Council voted on an amended option that was carried unanimously.

YORKTON – At the Regular Council Meeting Sept. 11 council voted unanimously to deny a $2.075M tender award for a new airport terminal building.

The $2,075,514 bid exceeded budget estimates by nearly 70 per cent, according to the Council Report.

Council was given three options after hearing a detailed report from Michael Eger, Director of Planning, Building and Development.

The options were as follows:

1. That Council direct Administration to proceed with the Yorkton Airport Terminal
Building with a total budget of $2,715,000 and award the tender for “Yorkton Airport 
Terminal Building” to CCR Construction Ltd. for $ 2,075,514.00 plus applicable taxes, 
and further that the Mayor and City Clerk be authorized to execute the contract.

2. That Council deny the tender award as it results in a project cost that exceeds budget 
estimates by nearly 70 per cent.

3. That Council provide other direction.

Councillor Chris Wyatt moved Option two, that Council deny the tender award as it results in a project cost that exceeds budget estimates by nearly 70 per cent.

The motion was seconded by Councillor Quinn Haider and discussion ensued with Councillor Darcy Zaharia pointing to cost discrepencies.

"I talked to a local construction guy ... if we went with the lowest tender — 2.075M — that works out to over $800 per square foot," said Councillor Zaharia, adding, "I was just curious what the current kind of going rate was because this basically — if you look at the design — is a house and they charge $400 per square foot."

"I asked what's the difference between a commercial building at the $800 per square foot versus residential at $400 per square foot in this particular design — which is basically a house," said Zaharia, "they said there would be no difference." 

"Just in seeing it in the design — I mean — it's a fancy house," said Zaharia, "I'm definitely not in favor of proceeding with any of the tenders as it is but I don't think it would hurt to throw it out there and say, 'hey, this is our budget, let's see what you can do.'"

Councillor Dustin Brears noted the current state of the existing terminal and the apparent need for a new building, but wasn't convinced with the $2.07M price tag.

"There's absolutely no question that we need a new terminal building at the airport — it's absolutely falling apart and is in shambles to the point where it's getting close to being even unsafe to occupy," said Brears, adding, "I'm a user of the airport so I fully support getting a new terminal building out there but at $800-ish a square foot it's almost to the point of irresponsible to taxpayers to accept tender in that amount."

"I don't want to see this die on the table though," said Brears, "with Councillor Wyatt's motion I'd almost like to amend it a bit so that it doesn't just stop."

Councillor Quinn Haider agreed that the existing building needs to be replaced.

"Even if this had been approved it wasn't going to happen this winter so we need to make sure as — if it all possible — that winter of 2024 there is a building ... for the people who use the terminal ... because — as mentioned earlier — it is falling apart," said Haider, adding, "it is dilapidated — something's got to happen — not at $2.07M though."

"During the seven plus years that I've been on council one of the main things that I've learned is how busy that airport is and how important it is — not just to the people who work there and their families — but to also all of us because it does attract — it's an economic driver — so we need it," said Haider, "we've got to figure out how to make this happen how to make it quickly and how to make it efficiently."

At this point Councillor Randy Goulden motioned to make an amendment to Option Two that it would read that "Council deny the tender award as it results in a project cost that exceeds budget estimates by nearly 70 per cent and that Administration report back to Council as early as possible with options for providing an airport terminal."

The amendment was then seconded by Councillor Brears.

"People don't realize just how much our airport is used and it's becoming more and more effective," said Mayor Mitch Hippsley, "Council's highest priority when we were all elected was to be an economic driver for the City of Yorkton and attract business and money comes in airplanes — there is no question about it — and we've already proven that with what's going on in our city."

"It would be — I feel — irresponsible to the taxpayer to go 70 per cent over-budget on any build like this." said the Mayor, "I do believe there is a way to get around this and bring that price tag down."

"I am behind the whole project — not behind the price tag," added the Mayor.

The motion to amend Option Two was carried unanimously by Council and the amended Option Two was subsequently carried unanimously.

Earlier in the evening Council heard from Michael Eger, Director of Planning, Building and Development about the current state of the airport and issues with the existing airport terminal.

"The Yorkton Regional Airport is a Federally-certified aerodrome and is one of the Province’s busiest airports, behind only Saskatoon, Regina, La Ronge and PA," said Eger in his address to Council.

"The existing 2,277 square foot terminal building is a holdover from the construction of the original war-time airport," said Eger, adding, "the terminal building is now well past its useful life, having been identified for replacement in a third-party report back in 2010."

"A new building was considered a decade ago through a Request for Proposals," said Eger, adding, "ultimately costs for construction were deemed too high and the project was shelved."

"With internal loan payments coming to an end for the repaving of the main runway and the condition of the existing building reaching a critical point, Administration formally renewed the project through the Yorkton Airport Authority at their September 19, 2022 meeting," said Eger.

"Administration then carried out consultation with the airport tenants to determine needs and to gauge interest in leasing future office space," said Eger, adding, "additionally the terminal buildings at other comparable airports were visited and reviewed for points of reference and design inspiration." 

Alton Tangedal Architects, a firm with airport terminal design experience, was then retained to carry out preliminary design, read the Council Report, adding, YAA members were provided with that design at their Feb. 27, 2022 meeting and it was resolved:

1. That Yorkton Airport Authority (YAA) proceed with detail design of the terminal building with an optional garage, as presented at the February 27, 2023 meeting, and further that the design be issued for tender and brought back to a future meeting.

The detail design phase identified additional project considerations and cost increases which exceeded preliminary estimates, continued the report, as such, Administration returned this time to Council for a final review before proceeding to tender. At the July 17th, 2023 Regular Council Meeting, it was resolved:

1. That Council authorize Administration to proceed to tender for a new airport terminal building, with the attached garage included, and bring back to a future City Council meeting for potential approval to award.

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