There is some “low-hanging fruit” among roadbuilding specifications that can and should be harmonized between the Winnipeg and Manitoba, the MHCA Board of Directors was told at its February 10 meeting.
“Industry representatives have compiled a list of specs that can fairly easily be harmonized between Winnipeg Public Works and Manitoba Infrastructure and we are asking the City and MI to come to the table to discuss them and look at other areas of possibility,” MHCA President Chris Lorenc said.
Harmonization – effectively adopting a mutual standard – of roadbuilding specs can hold real value to the governments that tender the projects and to the roadbuilders, including reducing the cost of the design process and construction, streamlining the process, making it more productive, efficient and cost-effective. That can mean getting more value from the street renewal or highways capital programs for the budget set each year and reducing the cost to government.
The Board unanimously supported the proposal, and a letter is being sent to Deputy MI Minister Sarah Thiele and Mike Ruta, CAO of the City, asking that the two governments work through the Municipal Infrastructure Chair, University of Manitoba Engineering Prof. Ahmed Shalaby, to examine the opportunities.
Other industry issues the MHCA Board discussed Wednesday included:
- Minister Scott Fielding met with MHCA board representatives February 8 to discuss provincial fiscal and infrastructure investment priorities, leading up to the release of Budget 2021. Fielding agreed the concept of annual and five-year highways capital programs made sense, allowing the province to identify its long-term infrastructure investment plans and for industry to prepare their business plans in advance.
- Discussions between the broad construction industry and the City of Winnipeg through the ‘Specification Working Group’ continues regarding the spec changes to the base and sub-base materials. Progress has been slow.
- MHCA will be meeting later this month with senior government officials to discuss the potential for Manitoba to lead a Western Canada Trade Gateways and Corridors initiative. The intent of the proposal is to increase the region’s trade productivity and global profile, with federal recapitalization of a Western trade infrastructure investment program. See more details here.
- MHCA WORKSAFELY™ will be asking all COR™ clients to put its ‘COR Certified’ decals on their work vehicles, to show their company has achieved the nationally recognized Certificate of Recognition for workplace safety and health programming. COR™ certification is required by Manitoba Infrastructure and project owners across Canada to bid on tenders and contracts.
- The province says it is awaiting final sign-off by the federal government on a cost-sharing agreement to build the Lake Manitoba/Lake St. Martin Outlet Channels project. Environmental approvals are a work in progress as is the process of consultation with First Nation communities affected. Read the latest here.
- The MHCA is hosting two virtual ‘Breakfast with the Leaders’ events – Finance Minister Scott Fielding on February 16 and Business Council of Manitoba President Bram Strain on March 16. Members and non-members are invited to register for the webinars to hear the speakers and engage in a Q&A session.
- MHCA is seeking a meeting with the Department of Agriculture and Resource Development to ensure a full program for quarry rehabilitation is rolled out this year. MHCA is asking for
- A summary of the aggregate production, quarry rehabilitation activities across the province and expenditures from the levy reserve in 2020
- A discussion about ways to improve quarry rehabilitation standards and an update of the levy rate
- The 2021 MHCA Directory and Equipment Rental Rates Guide will be mailed to members mid-March, when it is also available for purchase at MHCA’s office.