By Steve Hubrecht
[email protected]

The district of Invermere has awarded the contract for the next phase of downtown revitalization to Wilco Contractors Southwest Inc.

Invermere obtained a total of $1.2 million in grant money for the revitalization, which will stretch down 7th Avenue from 9th Street (the AG Valley Foods intersection) to the Cenotaph Plaza at 12th Street. The district had already spent 180,000 on surveying, electrical, irrigation, and structural plans, leaving $1.02 million to spend on the work.

Two companies bid on the work, with very similar contract prices, but Rory Hromadnik told council the Wilco bid was the preferred option, owing to the company’s previous experience with similar projects. There were significant errors in the other company’s bid.

Owing to a more than $400,000 difference in Wilco’s bid price (which was more than $1.4 million) and the amount the district has available, the district is breaking this revitalization work into two parts: part one from AG to the intersection of 7th Avenue and 10th Street (right by the Rusty the Moose statue), and part two from Rusty the Moose to the Cenotaph plaza. Hromadnik said the best option for the district is to negotiate with Wilco to have the company fully complete part one of the project and then do key elements of part two, with the pedestrian crossing bump outs getting top priority in part two.

Hromadnik added that no work will be done before Canada Day, as had initially been envisioned.

“Two reasons: we’re a little late, and supply side issues are wreaking havoc with the contractor, and they’ve informed us there’s a bunch of items they just could not secure the supplies for in time. So we’ve notified that we’ll be starting in the fall,” he said, adding that the contractors have indicated that they still feel it will be possible to substantially complete the work in 2021.