Ten per cent shaved off cost of Gan town hall ad­di­tion

The Recorder & Times (Brockville) - - NEWS - WAYNE LOWRIE wlowrie@post­media.com

GANANOQUE – The low bid­der on the con­struc­tion of an ad­di­tion to town hall has agreed to shave 10 per cent off his price af­ter ne­go­ti­a­tions with the town.

Shellee Fournier, chief ad­min­is­tra­tive of­fi­cer, said Cupido Con­struc­tion agreed to re­duce its $3.4-mil­lion bid af­ter the town pro­posed that it use cheaper ma­te­ri­als in the two-storey ad­di­tion to the 186-year-old build­ing.

Town coun­cil last month asked Fournier and its ar­chi­tect to ne­go­ti­ate a bet­ter price for the ad­di­tion af­ter the three bids for the work came in at close to a mil­lion dol­lars over es­ti­mates. Coun­cil had es­ti­mated the cost of ren­o­va­tions to the his­toric town hall and a 9,106 sq,-ft. ad­di­tion on the back at $2.5 mil­lion. But the three bids ranged from $3.4-3.7-mil­lion.

Coun­cil­lor Jeff Gir­ling said the 10-per-cent sav­ing is not good enough, and a far cry from the $1 mil­lion sav­ing needed to meet the bud­get.

“Where did we go from cut­ting a mil­lion dol­lars off the cost to 10 per cent?” Gir­ling asked coun­cil on Tues­day. “Ten per cent is not good enough for me.”

Fournier said that the con­trac­tor had to keep his re­duc­tion to within 15 per cent of his orig­i­nal bid. Oth­er­wise, she said, the town would have to re-ten­der the en­tire project.

Gir­ling, the most vo­cal of two coun­cil op­po­nents to the ad­di­tion, said the more than $3-mil­lion price tag proves what crit­ics of the plan have been say­ing all along.

For years crit­ics have been telling town coun­cil that its $2.5-mil­lion es­ti­mate was far too low, Gir­ling said. But coun­cil mem­bers ig­nored them, he said.

“It’s not go­ing to be $2.5 mil­lion, it’s not even go­ing to be $3 mil­lion – it’s go­ing to $3.2, $3.3 mil­lion with­out any ex­tra costs thrown in,” he said.

Gir­ling again ad­vo­cated that coun­cil se­ri­ously con­sider scrap­ping the ad­di­tion idea and look at us­ing other build­ings in­stead. In the past, Gir­ling has sug­gested such op­tions as us­ing the li­brary for mu­nic­i­pal of­fices and mov­ing the li­brary to the Kins­men Cen­tre. Coun­cil could hold its meet­ings up­stairs at the arena, he has sug­gested.

“At some point we need to have a dis­cus­sion about whether there is a bet­ter way of find­ing a home for the town hall that isn’t go­ing to cost us that amount of money,” he said. “We can do bet­ter than this.”

Coun­cil­lor Brian Brooks said Gir­ling is wrong when he says the town hall ad­di­tion would cost $3.2 mil­lion. That cost also in­cludes the price of needed ren­o­va­tions to the ex­ist­ing town hall, which was built in 1831 as a pri­vate res­i­dence.

Brooks said the work on the town hall would have to be done whether the ad­di­tion is built or not.

As part of their ne­go­ti­a­tions on the price, the town has asked the ar­chi­tect to break out the cost of the ad­di­tion and the cost of ren­o­va­tions to the old build­ing, he said.

Once that is done, the town will have the ac­tual cost of the ad­di­tion, Brooks added.

Fournier said Cupido and the ar­chi­tect are still work­ing out the ac­tual cost of the re­vised bid, but that it would be avail­able for the next coun­cil meet­ing on Dec. 19.

At that time coun­cil will vote on whether to pro­ceed with the ad­di­tion or not.

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