Town of Indian Bay Case Study

The Town of Indian Bay is a small community situated in the central region of Newfoundland and Labrador whose demographic and economic data present a unique picture. As of the 2021 Census, Indian Bay’s population was recorded at 175, showing remarkable stability since 2016. This is particularly noteworthy given the broader context of Newfoundland and Labrador, where there was a 1.8% population decrease during the same period (from 519,715 in 2016 to 510,550 in 2021). The median age in Indian Bay was 50 in 2021, slightly above the provincial median age of 48. This indicates a relatively older population compared to the rest of Newfoundland and Labrador. Economically, Indian Bay’s gross personal income per capita in 2019 was reported at $27,400, which is notably lower than the provincial average of $38,600.
This case study of Indian Bay offers valuable insights into a community that, while small, reflects stability in its population count amidst a provincial trend of decline. The demographic and economic figures reveal a community with an aging population and economic challenges, as evidenced by its lower per capita income compared to the provincial average. These characteristics are crucial for understanding the dynamics at play in Indian Bay and the broader region of Newfoundland and Labrador. The project was overseen by the Town’s CAO, Triffie Parsons, along with members of its council.

The Challenge

As a small community, Indian Bay has challenges with internal resourcing. As such, they rely heavily on external service providers to complete projects with little capacity for oversight or management. In past projects, clear communications with its external engineers and contractors proved difficult. In some cases, miscommunication on project parameters and objectives had led to scope changes that were not fully aligned with community needs.

“Typically, one of the biggest challenges we have is communicating with the engineers and contractors to make sure we get the product that we are told we’re going to get- and to get it done in an efficient and timely manner” Triffie noted. “Project decisions are sometimes made between the engineers and contractors that don’t consider the product the town is actually looking for. This often leads to cost overruns or insurance issues.” The pump house project was particularly critical given its service level impact to the community. Failure of the existing pumphouse would be a critical loss and result in the towns residents lacking potable water.

Project decisions are sometimes made between the engineers and
contractors that don’t consider the product the town is actually looking for

Triffie Parsons, CAO

In addition to human capacity and managing communications, Indian Bay relies heavily on grant funding to execute on capital projects, and this was no different with the Pump House project. In fact, should the pump house project face any non-budgeted cost increases after breaking down, Indian Bay would have likely been forced to source non-favorable funds, such as debt, to complete the project.

During project onboarding, the Town of Indian Bay was hoping that dependbuild could prove the following objectives:

✅ A better understanding of the pumphouse project
✅ Risks that could be mitigated, reduced, or transferred
✅ Knowledge on what questions they should be asking, and to whom
✅ Better project transparency and oversight throughout the build

The Outcome

“dependbuild most definitely met my expectations. I was able to look at what information I received in the context of the project as a whole and go oh, well, I didn’t know we were supposed to see if they had this kind of insurance, or that communication channels with certain stakeholders should be opened to remove reliance on the engineer” says Triffie. “The platform allowed me to be more watchful of progress on the project. And believe it or not, it was less time consuming… I was able to move forward with the project knowing that many issues were already dealt with.”

“…believe it or not, it was less time consuming… I was able to move forward with the project knowing that many issues were already dealt with.”

Triffie Parsons, CAO

When asked about the exact value dependbuild’s platform provided and how it was used in her role as a CAO, Triffie went on to say she “was able to recognize cost increases before breaking ground and use that to motion budget increases to council. I actually used it for a lot of discussion with my council. And normally councils don’t have time to you know, look at every detail of a project. They depend on their staff to do that. So being able to to use your (dependbuild’s) program and give them a more concise outline of the risks and what we could potentially be looking at, made them more involved in the process as well- and it was easier for them to give direction from their side of things and manage expectations better.” Triffie also described how, for a small community like hers, one of the biggest wins with a solution like dependbuild is the confidence to undertake projects. “With dependbuild, I would say I have an 85% increase in confidence to take on any project compared to before. Especially in small towns, a small team is depended on to do everything, and you don’t have time to give your 100% attention to each thing that comes up. Knowing the risks from this program, I was able to focus on the most likely events that could occur, that would be time consuming. And again, if you move forward with being aware of those risks, and actually being proactive, then the confidence level in the project and getting what you actually anticipate you’re going to get escalates dramatically.”

Who would you recommend dependbuild to?

“Absolutely, everybody. I mean, I know there are larger communities that have their own engineering department, but you can still have communication breakdown there as well when you’re the one on the ground doing the work. So any community of the nearly 300 communities in Newfoundland in particular, there’s only probably four that would stand the chance of this not helping them…. It makes anyone’s job easier when they have a company that has expertise in a field and is looking at it from your point of view. Oftentimes, people forget things, or they rely on their engineers thinking well, they know everything.” Triffie is currently planning the town’s next set of projects for 2024 and plans to continue using dependbuild to identify, manage, and communicate their project risks.

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