MHCA acknowledges it is located on Treaty One land and the homeland of the Metis Nation

MHCA seeks adjustment on Manitoba outlet-channel proposed scope

The heavy construction industry is sending its feedback on the way Manitoba Infrastructure wants to roll out the construction contracts for the Lake Manitoba/Lake St. Martin outlet channels.

Construction on the channels is expected to begin this fall.

“We think there could be adjustments to how the projects are rolled out in construction contracts, in terms of size and scheduling,” MHCA President Chris Lorenc said.

The MHCA’s early discussions with MI about what the contracts will look like, in terms of size and components was a topic at the association’s Executive Committee meeting August 25. MHCA will send the industry’s suggestions to MI and ask for further talks, prior to the finalization of the tenders.

“It is important that the industry and the government are working together to ensure that MI sees a vigorous, competitive bid process for this vitally important project,” Lorenc said.

Construction of the channels is expected to commence this fall. The $540-million project, cost-shared between Canada and Manitoba, is expected to have the channels in operation by 2024.

The Executive Committee, meeting in person for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic triggered business closures in 2020, also heard that a provincial advisory committee on the Quarry Rehab Program has been meeting and discussions are proceeding well.

There are options being discussed on how to improve the Quarry Rehabilitation Program, incorporating changes that were recommended in the Auditor General’s report that was released in 2020. The Auditor General’s Office did a review of the program in response to provincial department concerns about financial management.

Among the options being discussed is putting the program in control of third-party management, although provincial government support would be on-going.

Recommendations from the advisory committee are expected to be submitted to Agriculture and Resource Development Minister Ralph Eichler later this year.

Other items on the table at the Executive Committee meeting included:

  • The WCR&HCA is working with the Business Council of Manitoba, Canadian Construction Association and Economic Development Canada to host a planning session next month to discuss advancing a proposal for a Western Canada Trade Gateways & Corridors program, and how that would support national objectives.
  • The RM of Springfield continues to consider its proposed new aggregate bylaw, having received feedback from the MHCA and aggregate producer members. The RM is looking at further water-related studies prior to further consideration.
  • MHCA will continue to consult with its members and committees regarding planning for the Chair’s Gala in November.
    • Discussions continue with the RBC Convention Centre, which can operate its convention rooms at half capacity, at present.
  • Executive Committee agreed that the value of MHCA’s two Cornerstone Bursary awards for students enrolled in Red River College’s Construction Management Degree Program should be increased to $2,500 each, from the current $2,000 and that the endowment fund be the subject of further fund-raising.