Plans underway for rodent-infested Verner garage 'in dire need of repair'

·2 min read

At a special meeting of council on August 30, West Nipissing council awarded a $618,536 contract to Capital Construction for upgrades and expansions to Verner’s municipal garage.

Two bids came in on July 26, and after review by municipal staff, the Sudbury company was awarded the work. Their bid was also the lowest of the two.

Shawn Remillard, the municipality’s public works manager, noted that the quotation “was significantly higher” than anticipated, and exceeded “what the actual budget was” for the construction.

The municipality had budgeted $400,000 for the work.

However, he mentioned that the engineer and consultant drafted the estimated budget before Covid-19 increased prices across the board for such projects.

They “couldn’t predict the supply and demand issues we face today,” Remillard said. “Prices have gone up significantly because of the pandemic.”

He also noted that the municipality has been putting off this project, and “at some time, we’ll have to address this building,” because “if we don’t address it, I’m of the opinion that I won’t have a choice but to bring someone in to do a structural analysis” of the garage.

Councillor Yvon Duhaime recalled this work has been on the table “for the last three or four budget meetings,” noting that from his visits to the building, the garage “is in dire need of repair.”

“There’s no question about it,” he said. “The roof is leaking, the walls are deteriorating at the bottom,” allowing small animals to enter the building.

“It’s a bothersome issue for the workers who are there,” Duhaime said, referring to the municipal works crew, “to have to deal with these rodents.”

Despite the increased cost to construct, Duhaime encouraged council to support the motion “to move on with this project.”

The municipality’s chief administrative officer, Jay Barbeau agreed. “I think we’re at a point where we need to get it done, and we’ll make adjustments accordingly” to the budget, which could mean drawing from reserve funds, “although that would be under the worst-case scenario.”

David Briggs, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter,

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