THUNDER BAY – A contract for key work associated with the demolition of the VictoriaVille Centre, and the reconstruction of Victoria Avenue, will be considered by Thunder Bay’s city council Monday.
The $1.1 million prime consulting contract covers engineering, design, and consulting services for the project, which is set to span more than two years, with reconstruction of Victoria Avenue projected for completion in late 2025.
City council voted unanimously to demolish the aging, money-losing structure in 2020, hoping the move will help revitalize the city’s south core – and noting it will pay for itself after about a decade, thanks to the mall’s annual operating losses of around $800,000 a year.
City administration recommends awarding the contract to KGS Group, after a staff evaluation team scored its proposal 89/100.
The engineering consulting firm was one of two to bid on the RFP for the project, with the other found to be non-compliant.
The firm will help oversee the design and completion of complex demolition work on the structure that, along with rebuilding Victoria Avenue as a through street, is estimated to cost about $11.5 million, including this contract.
It’s an estimate the city has said could grow, depending on the vision for Victoria Avenue approved by council.
Plans include the addition of a public plaza on the Syndicate Avenue right-of-way, south of Victoria Avenue, and a revamp of the existing public square north of Victoria.
The city has promised extensive consultation and community engagement in the process of designing the reopened stretch of the street and those public areas.
The city’s newly-created downtown Fort William revitalization committee will also help guide the process.
The KGS Group contract includes a $100,000 contingency allowance to account for potential overruns, which can be spent with authorization from city administration, according to contract terms.
The actual cost to the city would be closer to $1 million, after a $110,000 HST rebate.
Some work that was initially intended to be part of the contract is recommended for deferral by city staff, with estimates coming in about $280,000 above the budget of $1.27 million allocated by council.
That includes surveying, geotechnical, and environmental work including utility locates and vibration analysis. A separate contract recommendation will come to council in the future for that work, which is planned for 2025.
In a report, staff noted the city has submitted a stage two application to FedNor for $500,000 for the work.
City council will vote on the recommendation to award the contract to KGS Group on Monday.