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MHCA asks for a plan toward increased use of recycled aggregates in Winnipeg

The heavy construction industry will present to the Winnipeg’s Public Works officials their experience in 2020 working with new road-building specifications. It will also seek a development plan for increased use of recycled aggregates in street renewal projects.

Those are two of the items on the agenda for the next meeting on February 9 of the joint construction industry and city administration working group, tasked with reviewing the city’s road-building specifications, used in 2020. The working group has also been asked by City Council’s Infrastructure Renewal and Public Works committee to work with industry to recommend ways to increase the use of recycled concrete aggregates. Due to the new specs for the road base and sub-base materials, no recycled aggregate was used on city street renewal projects last year.

The update on the Specification Working Group was delivered at the Feb. 3 meeting of the MHCA Executive Committee. The Committee was also told that MHCA has committed to giving the Public Works department examples of areas where the City and provincial government, with relatively little difficulty, could harmonize their road-building specifications.

The Executive Committee was heard the MHCA has pressed the City of Winnipeg to strike a working group to review the objectives of a social procurement policy. In December, City Council asked administration to develop such a policy and report on consultations with the wider community by March 17.

The MHCA participated in a consultation session January 28, where it raised the value of creating a working group instead to discuss the policy objective, conduct a gap/needs analysis and look at what’s in place in other cities. That information can then be shared in the wider community-group consultation forum. A poll of participants at the January 28 session received only support for the proposal.

MHCA President Chris Lorenc said the association is awaiting response from the City.

Other items and issues discussed by the Executive Committee included:

  • MHCA has asked for clarification of the latest provincial public health order regarding travel and mandatory self-isolation for construction workers. A letter to the government seeks clarity on why out-of-province construction workers need not isolate for 14 days upon arrival, but apparently Manitoba workers returning from out-of-province construction jobs do need to self-isolate.
  • The Canadian Construction Association continues to help in the work to move Saskatchewan away from local preference clauses within its construction tender and contract documents; these clauses give resident companies a significant advantage in their bids for government contracts. A meeting of the CCA with heavy and vertical construction associations across the West is expected in the near future.
  • Finance Minister Scott Fielding has scheduled a February 8 meeting with some executive members of the MHCA, to discuss industry priorities for 2021 budget year. MHCA’s pre-budget submission included recommendations the government enlarge the role and mandate of Manitoba Infrastructure to make it a pivotal player in provincial strategy for economic growth, focusing provincial capital investment plans on trade gateways and corridors and infrastructure projects that hold the greatest return on investment.
  • MHCA has scheduled two speakers to lead off this year’s “Breakfast with the Leaders” series, which will be held virtually as webinars. Finance Minister Fielding will speak on provincial fiscal and investment priorities on February 16 and Bramwell Strain, President of the Business Council of Manitoba, will speak March 16, about the critical role for investment in trade gateways and corridors in provincial and national economic growth.