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Will COVID-19 pandemic delay Lethbridge construction projects?

COVID-19: Will major Lethbridge construction projects see delays?
Lethbridge city officials say that despite some unprecedented events this year, major construction projects are slated to continue and stay mostly on track. Emily Olsen reports.

Lethbridge’s director of community services, Tony Vanden Heuvel, says despite unprecedented events this year, many of the city’s major construction projects like Fire Station #5, the Nikka Yuko expansion and the demolition of the YMCA, could stay on track.

“It is a weird time. We’ve had eight months of winter now, in addition to a pandemic crisis. All of our approved projects are going ahead,” Vanden Heuvel said. 

“We recognize that it’s very important to look after the safety of all of our staff, our contractors and those that we do business with. We’re hopeful we are going to be able to stay on schedule with these.

“Some of the scheduling that’s going to be beyond our control would have to be with supply chain management… Being able to access the construction materials and equipment that we need.” 

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Construction has been deemed an essential service and he says the city is taking health and safety on these sites seriously.

“As you can imagine, construction happens in different stages, so there is opportunity in the construction process to factor in that physical distance that is required.”

Prime contractors assigned to each site are responsible for the majority of the precautions.

“Anything that comes up, they communicate back with us and let us know what’s going on. They’re responsible, as prime contractor, to look after the health and safety of everyone on their work sites.”

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He says feedback from contractors hasn’t brought up any glaring issues at this point. 

“For the most part it’s proceeding very well. It’s a daily conversation with those contractors to make sure they’re operating safely and we’re doing what we can to support that.”

Vanden Heuvel adds the city is committed to completing these projects for the sake of the local economy and community.

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“We’re all in this together.

“I think the community should know that the City of Lethbridge, through city council, is doing what it can to make this as positive an experience as possible.”