Architect chosen for Portland community hall

·3 min read

Rideau Lakes Township has taken another step toward the development of a new community hall in Portland.

All members of the township council voted to move ahead with the selection of +VG Architects at a municipal services committee meeting earlier this week.

VG was one of two firms that gave a presentation to the council last month. During the presentation, the firm spoke of its history, past projects and the path forward in working with the township.

"We're very excited and honoured to be working with the township," said Dan Wojcik, a partner with VG, in a phone interview Friday.

Wojcik said the steps moving forward will include two public consultations with the community.

"What we like to do is in the earlier session, use it more as a platform to gather information," said Wojcik, "then use the second subsequent session to demonstrate how that information has effectively integrated into the project."

The impetus for the project was to replace the aging community hall in Portland. Following a report on the cost of continuing repairs, council decided it was best to build an entirely new facility.

A poll last year of the public had a sizable majority indicate they also preferred a new building over continuing to rehab the existing space.

Five options were listed, ranging from limited maintenance, to maintaining the building with renovations, to rebuilding entirely with three different size options.

The two most-preferred options both call for a rebuild of greater size than the recently built halls in South Elmsley and Elgin. The estimated costs of the two options range from just over $900,000 to $1.39 million.

The cost put forward by VG comes in at $98,632.50 for the entire design process. While that was the cheapest price put forward by the firms – by about $40,000 – which submitted to the request for proposals (RFP), it is about $48,000 over what was budgeted for 2021.

Mayor Arie Hoogenboom indicated the $48,000 could be shifted to 2022.

"The idea would be that this carries us into next year," said Hoogenboom during the meeting on Monday.

VG was one of two firms that made it to the final process. After four firms submitted a response to the RFP, VG and CSV Architects each a gave presentation to council during the Feb. 22 municipal services committee meeting.

Multiple councillors said in the meeting on Monday VG was their preferred choice even before staff gave the recommendation.

In a scoring system used by staff to grade the proposals by the firms, VG was given the highest score, 9.25 out of 10. The criteria for the scoring were based on projected price, consultation with the township and similar projects completed by the firms.

Rideau Lakes manager of facilities and parks Malcolm Norwood said the final recommendation to council was based on multiple criteria, not just the score.

"I took a holistic recommendation from the score, the presentation and the references," said Norwood, who added he spoke with managers of previous works with the firm for reference.

No definitive timeline was offered by either the township or VG. Norwood said meetings will take place between the two groups this month to iron out the timeline going forward.

Marshall Healey, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brockville Recorder and Times