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RMOW signs off on more than $3M in infrastructure upgrades

Some Whistler neighbourhoods see corrosion-related water main failures
A pipe pulled from the ground in Whistler after a water main break on Lorimer Road in 2018.

More pricey water and sewer work is set to get underway in Whistler after council awarded two contracts on March 19—one for $1,199,690 to go towards water main upgrades, and one for $1,828,906 for a water and sewer valve fitting replacement project.

Speaking to the first contract —water main upgrades—the Resort Municipality of Whistler’s (RMOW) manager of infrastructure projects, Chelsey Roberts, talked about the need to upgrade the infrastructure in the Creekside and Emerald areas due to corrosion causing water main breaks, and interruptions in water service to the community.

Capital projects supervisor, Scott Morphet, explained to council the existing infrastructure there was originally installed in the 1980s, and is declining in condition.

“Over the past 10 years, the Creekside neighbourhood has experienced numerous unscheduled corrosion-related failures, and additionally, residents on Summer Lane in Emerald consistently encounter discoloured water,” he said.

“The root cause of these challenges lies within our water infrastructure reaching its end of life.”

The upgrades include Summer Lane, Lake Placid Road, and Taylor Way—all areas that will have traffic control measures in place to manage temporary road closures and detours.

The scope of the work for 2024 will see almost 400 metres of pipe and fittings replaced, along with new fire hydrants and relevant infrastructure linking residential properties to the mains, and the restoration of road surfaces upon completion of the underground work.

Roberts said investing in replacing the water mains will allow municipal staff to focus on other areas.

“The utilities department frequently has to flush this section of main on Summer Lane and Emerald,” she said in relation to discoloured water going to homes.

The contract was awarded to Coastal Mountain Excavations, a Whistler-based company that underbid the only other application considered by staff, though both were over the original engineers estimate by the RMOW on project cost when it was put out for tender.

Roberts explained both bidders expressed concern with the ground conditions in the area as a reason for the higher cost—an explanation staff chose to accept, as both bidders have worked in that area before. The soil in the area is also the reason for the shortened life span of existing infrastructure, as it is noted to be corrosive.

While the contract issued to Coastal Mountain Excavations was for $1,199,690, the budget for the project is $1,500,000.

Work will begin in April, with substantial completion expected by July.

The second contract awarded March 19 was for $1,828,906, also to Coastal Mountain Excavations, for a water and sewer valve replacement project.

The scope of that work is for 12 repairs to valves in the water distribution system, and 14 repairs to valves in the sewer connections system in the area between Village Gate Boulevard and Nicklaus North.

Previous works were carried out in 2022 and 2023 to replace valves in Whistler’s water and sewer infrastructure, with the broader project designed to reduce unplanned service interruptions due to infrastructure failure from corrosive soil.

The 2024 work will span from the Spruce Grove baseball fields to Fitzsimmons Road. Residents can expect minor traffic delays, pedestrian detours, and water service interruptions.

Roberts said residents along the area affected by the works will see no interruptions to sewer services due to temporary bypasses being installed.

As with the first contract, the RMOW received two bids, and awarded the contract to Coastal Mountain Excavations, which was the lowest bidder, and below the engineers’ cost estimate. Coastal Mountain Excavations successfully carried out the previous year’s upgrades in 2023.

Work is scheduled to wrap in September