The Sydney Tar Ponds Agency will begin contract talks next week with the engineering firm Earth Tech, the leading bidder in the competition to provide design services for the Tar Ponds and Coke Ovens cleanup. If the discussions are successful, Earth Tech, an international firm, and its local partner, CBCL Ltd., will carry out the detailed engineering for the cleanup, and supervise construction during the eight-year project. “At about $30 million, this will be one of the largest contracts awarded during the cleanup,” said Frank Potter, the agency’s acting chief executive officer. “Construction work on the cleanup will be divided into several projects to make it easier for local firms to take part.” Earth Tech, which recently completed the preliminary engineering design for the cleanup, is one of three bidders in the tender competition. The others are AMEC, which partnered with Golder and Associates; and TARget Engineering, a consortium of Halifax-based Jacques Whitford, SNC-Lavalin, ADI Ltd., and ENSR. Evaluators ranked Earth Tech first in technical merit and local economic benefits, and a close second in price. Technical merit accounted for 75 per cent of the evaluation score, local economic benefits 15 per cent, and price 10 per cent. The bid price may be adjusted to reflect possible changes in the scope of the cleanup project when the provincial and federal governments respond to the report of the environmental review panel that was issued in July. If discussions with Earth Tech are unsuccessful, the agency retains the right to open talks with one of the other two bidders. The three companies were invited to bid after a preliminary evaluation of expressions of interest from major engineering firms. Cleanup work in the Tar Ponds is expected to begin next year. Numerous preliminary cleanup projects, including the capping of a dump, the removal of buildings and debris, and the construction of an interceptor sewer to divert sewage from the Tar Ponds to a treatment plant, have already been completed. Work is wrapping up on the construction of a barrier between the Tar Ponds and Sydney Harbour, and the diversion of Coke Ovens Brook to clean channels is on schedule for completion this fall.
Seeking to reach East African adolescents and young people in the battle against AIDS, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has launched its first interactive feature in Swahili, an online game that empowers the young to make good life choices and prevent HIV.The game, called ‘Ungefanyaje’ or ‘What would you do?’ in Swahili, takes the player through a series of relationship-based scenarios that emphasize the importance of HIV prevention and testing.“Although prevention is essential to half the spread of HIV/AIDS, an alarming 80 per cent of all young people still don’t know how to protect themselves from the virus,” UNICEF said in a news release, noting that sub-Saharan Africa has been especially hard-hit by the epidemic. “By speaking openly about the threat that HIV and AIDS poses to young people, we can help give them the knowledge they need to keep them safe from infection,” said Amber Oliver, Coordinator of Voices of Youth, an Internet site created by UNICEF for the young who want to know more, do more and say more about the world.“It is estimated that of the 2.3 million children under 15 living with HIV, 2 million are in sub-Saharan Africa. Reaching young people with prevention education and services is a crucial step towards an AIDS-free generation.”