ESTEVAN - Estevan city council received an update on the rehabilitation of the city’s water tower during the Oct. 4 meeting.
In a letter to council, Shane Bucsis, the manager of the city’s water and wastewater treatment plants, said the tender for the project will close on Oct. 14.
Once the contract has been awarded, the tower will be drained and isolated out of operation. It will be down for the winter, when all metal works will be completed. The internal coating of the tower must be tackled with the temperature maintained at 10 C. Any lower and the epoxy will not stick, he said.
Painting of the outside can be done earlier but most likely will be done at the same time.
City manager Jeff Ward said they also wanted to time the project so that it wasn’t affecting the Dennis Moore Centennial Park, where the tower is located.
It was noted earlier this year that the water tower was in need of repair, as it was built in the 1950s. Since that time, it has served as the primary water storage, with others coming online since then.
Hatches for the water tower are not the proper size. These will be rebuilt with proper standards so anyone can get in. The walkway and ladder inside the bowl need to be replaced; they will also add a built-in fall arrest system. The coating of the interior is completely gone, and pitting has started to happen inside the bowl. This has led to a couple of holes in the water tower.
Bucsis wrote that the project tender is complete, and to fit into the budget, a couple of low-risk, high-cost items were removed. The coating that doesn’t touch the water was old and build-up on beams was observed.
“It was originally thought we would sandblast the hole inside. The cost of scaffolding and entrance constraints made the estimated budget to do the work extremely high.”
Also, as engineering standards have changed, the tower is now filled to six metres instead of seven. With that, the city is going to lower the overflow drain by a metre. This will reduce the area needed for the thick epoxy-coating.
During the refurbishment, Ward noted there could be a small decrease in water pressure, but that’s why they’re doing the project in the winter. But pounds per square inch will be at regulatory levels. There won’t be water quality issues.
The water tower is the best back-up storage the city can have, Bucsis said, because in the event of a power outage, the water is already in the tower, and it can provide water pressure to the city, preventing the city from issuing a boil water advisory.
The tower is still structurally sound and most of the metal is in good condition, he said.
And when the painting takes place, the quotation marks around Estevan will remain.
The city received federal gas tax funding for the project.
Mel Murray from Estevan Minor Baseball came to council, seeking support for new lights for Panteluk Field at Lynn Prime Park.
The park was built in 2007 to host a Western Canadian baseball tournament the following year, but the city electrician has advised minor baseball the lights must be replaced. Before minor ball can apply to host a Western Canadian tournament, new lighting must be installed.
Minor ball would like to have the city purchase and install these new lights, he said.
Murray noted minor ball didn’t know they needed new lights until a damaging wind storm earlier this year. While new lights are needed, the fixtures are fine.
“All the lights work right now, but there’s six lights without the cover on them that directs to the ballfield.”
When asked by Councillor Shelly Veroba when the work would be completed, Murray said it would be best to do it in the late fall or winter when the ground is frozen. In early spring, the ground is too soft.
Veroba then asked if some lights needed to be replaced immediately, and others could wait.
Mayor Roy Ludwig suggested it could be good to complete the work over a couple of years.
Councillor Rebecca Foord wanted to know if Estevan was looking to host a Western Canadian tournament next year. Murray said no, and he wasn’t expecting a decision by council on Oct. 4, but he wanted to “get the ball rolling.”
Council tabled the decision to get a report from the electrician and a cost to have the lights in working order for next season.
Council awarded a bid for external audit services to the Vitrus Group for $163,770, plus tax, and $15,000 travel.
Earlier this year, council issued a request for proposals for external audit services, which includes the yearly audit and the audited financial statements. The proposal was sent to Estevan’s three local firms. A total of five responses were received, with Vitrus being the low bid.