Saskatoon City Council set to decide on landfill project with cost overruns

Methane gas collection system looks to be $3.3 million over budget
Reported by Zahir Muslun
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Saskatoon City Council is facing a cost overrun on another landfill project.

Last month council squashed the landfill wind turbine project because it came in almost $2 million over budget, now the methane gas collection system looks like it will come in $3.3 million over budget.

The collection system was supposed to cost $7.7 million dollars, but if city council votes against the project they will lose out on $5 million already committed to the project.

The landfill sits in Coun. Pat Lorje's ward. She said she is in favour of approving the unexpected costs because the city will need a way to deal with methane gas eventually.

"Sooner or later we are going to be forced by provincial regulations to handle the methane gas in a different, more appropriate, more environmentally sound way," she said.

The high cost of construction is reason for the unexpected increase, Lorje said.

"It's curious, but when you have an economy that is as robust as ours is, it seems that people say, well we had to hold our prices down for a long time because things weren't going well, but now that things are going well we'll put the prices up," she said.

According to city administration, it was originally going to take six years to pay off the three part project, which involves building a clay lid, a power generation facility, and a gas collection system, but now it could take an extra 1.5 years.

On Monday night, council will vote to approve the cost overrun.

Some funds will be taken from previous projects, said Lorje.

"It makes sense to take the money from the now dead wind turbine project and put it instead into a much needed methane gas collection process."