Oil and construction linked

By Geoff Lee

February 16, 2016 8:58 AM

Geoff Lee photo County of Vermilion Reeve Daryl Watt told the Lloydminster Construction Association project luncheon there will be over $32 million of road construction in the county in 2016 for LCA members to bid on.

'Level of construction moved with price of oil,' members hear

As oil goes, so goes the construction industry for member companies and contractors of the Lloydminster Construction Association.
That was the overarching message mixed with optimism at the inaugural LCA project luncheon Feb. 11 with a sellout audience of 104 at the Lloydminster Exhibition Grounds.
“Our level of construction has moved with price of oil,” said Lloydminster Economic Development Corporation president Ward Read in his forecast presentation.
“There is light at the end of the tunnel, but it is going to be a long tunnel.”
Read noted the value of construction permits in Lloydminster was about $180 million a year from 2011 to 2014 when oil prices spiked, dropping to about $125 million in 2015.
Speaker Paul Verhesen, president of the Alberta Construction Association said the current economy is not without its challenges for construction.
“We’re facing all sorts of challenges from the reality of the economic uncertainty, whether it’s oil and gas declines and the spread between the Canadian and U.S. dollar,” he said.
Verhesen noted however, that construction is a resilient industry that can survive the downturn.
“For some us we’ve seen this show before, we know how it goes,” he said.
Neil Kjelland, executive director of Alberta Infrastructure reported his department has $4.4 billion of new projects and programs in 2016 including the Pioneer Lodge expansion in the city.
There is local commercial work out there too for LCA members as the Lloydminster Public School Division, Lakeland College, the County of Vermilion River and the city of Lloydminster presented their 2016 lists of tendered projects.
LPSD facilities manager Bernard Gauthier said tenders are out for Queen Elizabeth School roof phase 2 and the repaving of the Lloydminster Comprehensive High School parking lot and some from end additions to the school.
“All the other projects are very small scope under the $50,000 mark,” he said noting a lot of those are done in-house.
Vermilion-Lloydminster MLA Richard Starke said the project luncheon is critically important for LCA companies to know what’s on the work agenda early in the year so they can plan ahead.
“We know this could be a challenging year, but it’s also a year where certain public agencies and municipalities and the province are going to try to take advantage of the fact there is more availability of contractors and labour,” he said.
Starke noted while the oil and gas sector is certainly facing its challenges, there are a lot of other sectors that continue to need new construction and renovations to maintain existing buildings. 
Lakeland College in Vermilion noted they have tenders out now for a $2.4 million dairy facility.
The campus also had bids out for an additional $4 million of projects including an animal clinic and upgrades and an addition to a beef/sheep facility.
There are some planned mechanical systems upgrades valued up to $180,000 and some classroom upgrades of up to $300,000 for Vermilion.
The Lloydminster campus will undergo a $100,000 upgrade this year to its parking lot.
All these projects and others in Alberta are available for LCA members to bid on through the CoolNet single source procurement process.
This year, CoolNet will include about $32 million in bids for 15 summer road construction projects in the County of Vermilion River.
Reeve Daryl Watt noted they just issued tenders for $1.62 million for water and sewer upgrades at Blackfoot in 2016.
He also noted there will be a $90 million expansion of a regional water line in the coming years from Vermilion to Marwayne, Dewberry, Kitscoty, Paradise Valley and Blackfoot.
The city of Lloydminster has released Requests for Proposals for engineering services for its 2016 water and sewer main and street improvement projects.
There will also be $400,000 of tendered work for traffic signals and $600,000 of facility division projects in 2016.
The projects were of interest to Brent Gebhardt, manager of BAR engineering’s structural department in Lloydminster who came looking for tendered work
“I hope to find out what projects are coming up in 2016 that should be on our radar as far as providing local consulting engineering services,” he said.
LCA president Russ Lorenz said with all the doom and gloom on the news it was great to have an event with a little “positivity” to it.
“It’s something that allows us to see that we will come out of this economic time and we’re all going to be resilient when we’re done,” he said.
There were also presentations from Saskatchewan Construction Association president Mark Cooper with opening remarks from LCA director John Winter and Lloydminster Mayor Rob Saunders.

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