Skip to content

Municipality of Jasper requesting proposals for transit facility

Administration will return to council to get final approval for construction after receiving the proposals from potential builders.
A concept design for Jasper’s transit fleet facility. | Supplied image

Jasper Transit may get another major investment as the municipality is looking at constructing a $3.6-million building to house its growing fleet of buses.

Council directed administration to issue a request for proposal for a transit fleet facility during Tuesday’s committee of the whole meeting.

“Providing that sheltered environment ensures that we protect the vehicles from the wear and tear of being stored outside and variable weather as well as reducing the risk of downtime due to inclement weather,” said CAO Bill Given.

In January, Jasper Transit cancelled around 2.5 hours of morning service due in part to the cold snap where temperatures reached below -40 C.

Given asserted that this could have been prevented if the municipality had had the ability to store its buses inside.

“So, we certainly want to ensure that we maintain that strong readiness to ensure that we can serve our transit customers as best as possible, and that’s the intent of the transit facility,” he added.

In 2023, the municipality was approved for a $5-million federal grant to support the procurement of transit capital items.

Key components of the grant application were the purchase of up to three zero-emission transit buses and the construction of a facility to house the buses.

In November, the municipality selected a consultant to conduct a scoping study to determine a suitable site, provide a concept design and to provide a cost estimate for a transit facility. The Transit Hub Study was received on Jan. 23.

While the grant will cover most of the construction cost for the transit facility, the municipality will still have to borrow $726,000.

The borrowing is expected to be taken later this year, with repayments scheduled to commence in 2025 and spread out over a five-year period.

This is estimated to result in annual payments of $166,204.

The total payments over the five years, encompassing both principal and interest, would amount to around $831,020.

Other estimated costs include $35,000 per year in facility operational costs and $57,000 per year in contribution to a fleet replacement reserve.

The transit facility would have a lifespan of 30-plus years as well as be able to house six buses in heated storage and two more buses in unheated storage under an outdoor canopy.

It would be located at the existing Public Works yard site, located east of 3 Compound Road in the Jasper townsite.

Given said the estimated savings associated with the municipality owning its own fleet and facility would be $215,000 per year in contracted services.

Coun. Rico Damota proposed a motion to forward this topic to next week’s council meeting and hold off on sending out the RFP.

He noted how there was some negative sentiment in the community about council’s spending and wanted to give residents a chance to provide their input.

“I don’t think that going to direct administration today is going to expedite anything [rather than] if we wait a week, and I’d like to hear more feedback from the community if there’s going to be any on this particular thing now that it’s out there,” Damota said.

“I know that there was some traffic on social media over the weekend and that might spur some further discussion.”

Mayor Richard Ireland said he had initially planned to make a similar motion but changed his mind, mainly because council and the rest of the community couldn’t provide proper feedback until receiving more firmer pricing.

“I cannot imagine what facts are going to come to light in the next week that will change anything,” Ireland said.

“Yes, absolutely. the community has a right to weigh in on this, and we should be prepared to receive those comments, but until we can give them some facts upon which they can comment, we're not serving them and we're not serving ourselves.”

Damato’s motion failed 3-4, while Ireland’s motion passed 4-3.

Administration will return to council to get final approval for construction after receiving the proposals from potential builders.

push icon
Be the first to read breaking stories. Enable push notifications on your device. Disable anytime.
No thanks