$4.1 million contract awarded for the construction of an additional hall and the installation of an elevator at the base of the balloon

Decision made at a special meeting of Timmins Council

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City Council has approved the award of a contract to CGV Builders Inc. of Cochrane to construct an additional Payload Integration Hall and add an elevator to the existing base infrastructure. stratospheric balloons from Timmins.

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The decision was made at a special meeting held at City Hall on Tuesday afternoon.

“You may recall that a few months ago we came to council with a request from the Canadian Space Agency to potentially increase the Timmins Stratospheric Balloon Base facility at the airport (Timmins Victor Mr. Power),” said Dave Dayment, airport manager.

“Phase 1 of this was moving what we call the garage, which it is, and which is being completed today.

“It was passed by the council and we did that work. It’s over today. »

Dayment noted that the Canadian Space Agency operates the base in conjunction with the French Space Agency (Le Center National d’Etudes Spatiales site).

“Canadians need to invest in base infrastructure to balance the money,” he said. “It’s a joint venture.

“Part of the idea was that they would add another payload integration room. This is where they assemble the payloads for the experiments they undertake on the trail.

“That’s what they put at the bottom of the flight chain and the balloon takes it into the stratosphere.”

Dayment pointed out that under current conditions, things can stall when bad weather delays a launch window.

“Things can be saved because they try to have a launch every week,” he said.

“If the weather isn’t cooperating, then the scientists from week 1 are still there waiting for their payload to increase and the others arrive for week 2.

“There could be up to 60 scientists crossing paths, trying to use the same space.”

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Dayment said a lot of work has been done on the project because the buildings are owned by the city.

“They will be paid through a lease, which they want to extend for 10 years,” he said. “Their current lease will be renegotiated once the price is set.”

CGV Builders’ bid, in the amount of $4,102,000 plus HST, was one of four bids received in response to the city’s tender with a July 5 closing date.

Other bids came from 2124140 Ontario Inc. of Timmins, SWM Contracting Inc. of Timmins and RM Belanger Limited of Chelmsford.

“Rivard Engineering/L360 was selected through a process several months ago to do the design based on (Canadian) Space Agency specifications,” Dayment said.

“They reviewed the submissions and they were all compliant, so the breakdown comes down to turnaround time. They want this completed in time for next year’s campaign.

Dayment said the agency will be in Timmins next week for four launches in August.

“So we will work between their two campaigns to build this building,” he said.

According to Dayment, CGV Builders Inc.’s bid was the lowest of four bids for the project.

“They can complete this work in 28 weeks after award,” he said. “They won’t be able to start until September, which is a real boost for a foundation. They want to lay the foundations before winter.

Dayment noted that the bidders “have been mentored by Public Works Canada,” the branch of the federal government that deals with procurement, contracts and leases.

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“They looked at every step of the process and made sure that what the Canadian Space Agency wants is in the documents,” he said.

“They reviewed them. The Canadian Space Agency reviewed the bids and they gave us a letter of intent that said they will cover the cost of construction, which we needed even though we have the lease.

“There may be extras, as we build, so we don’t have a final price yet, but right now it’s $4,102,000 (plus HST).”

Prior to the council’s vote to award the contract, several issues were raised around the table.

District 3 Com. Joe Campbell asked: “In terms of running costs, in the future, are we covered 100% or do we have to incur running costs?

“I know you mentioned that the construction costs will eventually come back to us, but do we have running costs, as a city, with this building? »

Dayment replied, “Yes. The entire installation we insure and there are running costs. The initial lease was entered into prior to the completion of the complex. We therefore did not have the real cost of its operation.

“We have a draft lease that was submitted through the city’s finance department. Gord Deacon saw it, myself and I think (CAO) Dave (Landers) took a quick look at it.

“So we have certain items that we want to put in there to cover our costs, so we are neutral. Heat and power are some of those…we have to keep buildings alive, I call it, and some of those costs were unknown at the time.

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“We get $15,000 per campaign, but they haven’t been there for two years (due to the COVID-19 pandemic).

“It was supposed to go towards operating costs, so we’ve lost that over the last two years.

“The new lease will make us whole, so we’re not… it’s out of the airport budget, so we’ll make sure the costs are covered in the new lease.”

Campbell continued, “So can we expect to recoup some of the operating costs?”

Dayment said: “I want them all covered. We subsidized it and I don’t want to do it anymore.

Campbell added: “It put Timmins on the map, so there are positives there.”

Ward 5 County. Michelle Boileau said: “Understanding that construction and operating costs will be covered by the 10-year lease, I notice in the report there is mention of FedNor as well as NOHFC grant applications.”

Dayment said: “We have applications in these two entities and they are in the second stage.

“They were accepted as worthwhile projects, but the one running through the province obviously stalled when the election was called.

“Brenda (Camirand) of the Timmins Economic Development Corporation led this part. She has contacts in both agencies.

“We’re pretty confident that we’re going to get something out of both of them.”

Campbell wondered what might happen if one or both grant applications were rejected.

Dayment said, “This Letter of Intent, whatever the cost to build, they (the Canadian Space Agency) will cover the cost, over a period of time, including interest.”

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Ward 5 County. Andrew Marks called the development of the Additional Payload Integration Hall “great news for the airport and the City of Timmins.”

“I fully support it,” he said, while encouraging the airport manager to let city officials know when the balloon launches will take place so they can promote them.

Dayment said: “We don’t have any actual dates as it depends on the weather, but I’ll be happy to call you when there’s one so you can hang out. Is 2:00 okay?

“That’s usually when they do.”

Deputy Mayor Kristin Murray, concluding the discussion, said: “As the Head of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, I appreciate the fact that there will be an elevator.

“There are changes or additions to the building that I think will be great for the community, so it’s inclusive for everyone.”

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