Gillingham calls to study ‘lessons learned’ on over-budget, delayed sewage treatment plant

The North End Sewage Treatment Plant. (Source: Josh Crabb/ CTV News Winnipeg)


Winnipeg’s finance committee chair is asking the city if lessons can be learned from one city project saddled with delays and cost overruns to not repeat the same mistakes on a similar project.

St. James Councillor Scott Gillingham submitted the motion to the standing policy committee on finance. It notes the original budget to upgrade and expand the South End Sewage Treatment Plant was $335.6 million, but has since increased $16.5 million to cover contract administration, construction contingency, increased transportation costs and more. As a result, the project is now behind schedule and over budget.

Gillingham believes there are lessons to be learned as the city heads into the next phases to upgrade the North End Sewage Treatment Plant.

“It is a matter of identifying what went wrong and if possible, can those repeats be avoided on the North End plant,” Gillingham told CTV News Winnipeg.

This plant will be completed in three phases, and comes with a price tag of $1.8 billion – the biggest capital project the city has undertaken so far.

The upgrades include new raw sewage pumps, plate screens, grit washing units, and other improvements. These investments will help lengthen the sewage plant’s service life, support population and economic growth, and create a stronger, cleaner and more environmentally sustainable community.

“With a $1.8 billion North End plant project, we really have to do all we can at the outset to make sure that those phases don’t go over budget, and those phases are completed on time,” he said.

Gillingham’s motion will be considered at a standing policy committee on finance meeting on Dec. 9.

- With files from CTV News Winnipeg’s Kayla Rosen