Work resumes on $17-million convention centre

Dave Stewart
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The solution involves pouring low amounts of cement into the dirt and mixing the two to strengthen the shale

The same technology that was used to cover up hazardous materials in the Sydney tar ponds in Cape Breton will be used at the convention centre in Charlottetown.

Work has resumed on the $17-million project after considering a number of options for problems which occurred recently at the site.

The steel seawall around the site buckled and twisted under the pressure of shale dumped onto the site. Work was stopped until engineers deemed it safe to go back in.

Ron Waite, general manager of the Charlottetown Area Development Corporation, said they had considered removing the shale from the site but that would have involved literally thousands of truckloads moving it out and back in again.

One of the alternatives was brought to CADC's attention by a firm out of Halifax that is doing work at the tar ponds.

Waite said the solution involves pouring low amounts of cement into the dirt and mixing the two to strengthen the shale.

"Our desire is really to stabilize and firm up the soil as opposed to making it any harder,'' Waite said Tuesday.

Engineers will add cement in and then wait to see how the soil reacts before determining whether to add more.

An excavator with an auger attached to it is being brought in later this week or early next week to bore into the soil and inject low amounts of the cement

As for the walls that buckled, the proposed solution is to pull those sections of wall and reset them.

"We're told by a couple of different firms that they can do that.''

"Our desire is really to stabilize and firm up the soil as opposed to making it any harder,'' Ron Waite, general manager of the Charlottetown Area Development Corporation

All of this comes at a cost of $1 million but Waite says it won't necessarily add to the total $17-millon bill.

"We believe there are at least portions of this that are recoverable costs,'' he said, referring to insurance CADC has on the project. "We will aggressively pursue ensuring that we recover costs associated with these errors.''

Waite adds that they're still shooting to have the project completed by spring 2013 but they'll need some help.

"We're going to need a little bit of help in terms of continued (mild) weather like we're experiencing. The big issue for us is not having an excessive amount of snow or excessively cold weather. Heavy frost in the ground would cause us real problems.''

After the soil problem is taken care of, the next step will be to pour the cement slab for the basement for the first 100 feet of the facility.

As for the 450-tonne crane, it is almost completely demobilized.

"It became apparent over two weeks ago that we could fix the safety issue on site without the big crane . . . we had told them to remove the crane from the site. They had asked to keep it on site until such time as it was causing us a problem because they wanted to be able to move it to whatever their next job was.''

Twitter.com/DveStewart

 

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  • wayne kennedy
    December 07, 2011 - 22:20

    Why is it every place I've been thought they had to build a "convention" centre? Usually saying they "had to compete" with other cities. Guess this is another way corporate welfare is double personal in Canada now? If the construction of public housing could also have been done.

  • yeah right
    December 07, 2011 - 21:49

    This should never have been built on in-filled land in a flood zone. I hope that media keep a very close eye on CADC and put in hundreds of freedom of info requests to them, the provincial government and city of charlottetown to get to the bottom of this project. I'd like to know who started proposing it in the first place. Names and dates please. I'd like to know who was involved in the site selection, the negotiations with the coast guard, the project designers, etc. What engineering firm is putting its name behind the current project? Is it an Island firm or is it from elsewhere? And I'd like to know more details about the insurance coverage for this project. Is this CADC's insurance (eg. our's - paid by the taxpayer) or is it the engineering company's insurance or is it the general contractor's insurance? And who is the general contractor? What tenders were issued, what amounts were submitted? Who were the companies bidding, etc.? The media skirts a lot of issues around PEI that involve wasting tax dollars. CADC is a cesspool of waste. They have a dozen or more employees and they have parking garages that are still run by PEOPLE instead of having them automated??!? like many other cities in Canada do.... And this organization gets millions of tax dollars to run other properties around Charlottetown. Time for a massive expose....

  • intobed
    December 07, 2011 - 20:51

    Hmm ... I wonder what happened to the polluted soil at this location that former minister Richard Brown admitted was toxic, but was going to be put back in place and buried. Is it still here? Has it been quietly moved and dumped somewhere else during this fiasco? Hmm ...