South Dundas to tender campground building, again

IROQUOIS – After months of discussion and a plan involving a community volunteer, South Dundas council has directed staff to go back to the original plan to replace the 50 year old washroom structure at the Iroquois camp ground.

The municipal washroom facility is at the end of its life span. In the spring, council directed staff to run a request-for-proposal for an engineer to design and oversee construction of the new facility. Council approved a $350,000 budget for the project in its 2018 budget, funded in part from money from the federal gas tax.

Engineering for Industry was the recommended engineering bidder with a price of $57,100. However that bid was rejected by council. Iroquois resident John Ross offered to donate his time to design the project. The municipality did not award the original tender at that time, electing to go with Ross, who also consulted with community user groups creating a building project that he estimated would cost over $410,000.

At the July 17th meeting, Ross informed council that what he was proposing for a building would not fit within the municipality’s $350,000 budget and that he could not proceed at this time.

During the August 14th meeting, council went back to the original plan from Ben Macpherson, director of recreation and facilities. After a lengthy discussion of what the original terms were for a contracted engineering firm for the municipality, it was established that the engineer would design the building project within the budget set by council.

Councillor Archie Mellan said he had been hesitant to spend $56,000 on an engineering firm at the time.

“The wants and the needs have clouded this whole situation,” he said. “We’ve tried to accommodate too much.”

“The needs as far as I am concerned are public washrooms, an office, and showers,” said councillor Bill Ewing. “If there’s other money, then we can put a meeting room in.”

“We’ve held that line that $350,000 was all we’re going to spend,” said mayor Evonne Delegarde.

Council voted unanimously to direct staff to consult with the original tender winner to see if they could take on the project where the tender process ended months ago.

In a follow up email with Macpherson, he told The Leader that he did not contact EFI.

“We spoke to our lawyers to determine if we can even do this,” Macpherson said. “[The lawyers] said that because council rejected the bid then that bid is closed. We’d be putting [South Dundas] in a position where other potential bidders could question the process and ask why they wouldn’t get an opportunity to bid.”

The municipality put out the engineering tender again, with a closing date of September 7th at 12 noon. Macpherson said that the tender would likely be presented to council at the September 18th meeting, “unless they choose to host a special meeting.”