Feds budget up to $5M for latest upgrade to Cliff heating plant in Ottawa

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The federal government says it’s planning another major overhaul of the central heating and cooling plant that serves dozens of downtown Ottawa buildings.

Public Works published a procurement notice Tuesday that says the rehabilitation and partial deconstruction of the Cliff Heating Plant is expected to cost between $1 million and $5 million.

The Cliff distribution system in Ottawa-Gatineau heats some 50 buildings and about 50,000 employees, including those working in prominent buildings such as the U.S. Embassy and those in the Parliamentary precinct.

The facility is located on Fleet Street near the Supreme Court and was the site of an explosion in October 2009 that killed an engineer.

The led the federal government to spend more than $30 million on emergency repairs and equipment to keep the system operational.

Less than two months after the explosion, Public Works awarded a $15-million sole-source contract to PCL to build a temporary boiler plant next to the Cliff Plant as a short-term fix. PCL won a second contract in early 2010, worth $18.7 million, to expand the temporary boiler plant.

In a project unrelated to the explosion, the federal government budgeted $3.8 million in 2011 to replace two electric chillers at the plant.