Port McNicoll fire station upgrades going ahead, despite higher price tag due to COVID-19

·3 min read

Shop local, save lives isn’t a phrase often seen together, but Tay council made it happen anyway.

A tender by a local construction company to improve firefighter health and safety at the Port McNicoll fire station came in one-third cheaper than estimates from others outside Tay Township, and as such was awarded last night to a Midland company.

Council agreed to award the tender for the fire station's interior renovations and barrier-free washrooms project, at an estimated cost of $224,863 plus HST, to Y&R Construction of Midland after receiving multiple tenders listed falling in the $320,000 to $460,000 range.

Shawn Aymer, fire chief and community emergency management coordinator, took charge in handling the report presented to council.

“As you see in the report,” said Aymer, “although we did expect a higher premium in the COVID world, it was a little higher than even we expected.

“What we did was go back to the contractors who assisted us in the original estimate for pricing and budgeting back in 2019, just to see how a local contractor would price the jobs today.”

The original estimate prepared by Lloyd Hunt Architect in late 2020 ranged between $200,000 and $250,000, with funding for the project coming from the 2021 budget of $190,000.

Tay staff contacted the two area contractors which had helped informally price the project, but at the time couldn’t commit due to time constraints. Due to COVID-19 project delays, however, the contractors were able to provide estimates for the fire station project, which came in well below what outside contractors were pitching.

“What we found at that point was both contractors locally were within a couple thousand dollars of each other; quite a bit below what the lowest bid was,” said Aymer.

Staff recommended that the tender go to Y&R Construction, despite still coming in above the $190,000 estimate.

An application for grant funding was applied, and provided in the amount of $177,315, from the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP) - COVID-10 Resilience Infrastructure Stream, which would not only improve firefighter health and safety, but also meet the requirements of the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development (MLTSD) Firefighters Cancer Prevention Checklist.

Through the ICIP grant, Tay staff anticipated that the township would spend roughly $79,000 less tax dollars on the project than had they proceeded without the grant.

“I’m quite relieved that we’re going to be getting the project done,” said Coun. Barry Norris. “I did notice in the report that accessibility is tenfold, and the number of automatic door openers along with everything else is jacking that price up too.”

Coun. Sandy Talbot expressed relief that the project was getting underway, noting that “a healthy place for them to be is important to me, and I’m sure, to their families.”

Coun. Jeff Bumstead thanked Aymer for capitalizing on the grant fund.

The Port McNicoll fire station interior renovations and barrier-free washrooms project is scheduled for completion by December 31 of this year as per ICIP grant funding requirements.

Tay council meets for regular council meetings every fourth Wednesday of the month. Further information including council’s agenda can be found on the Tay township website.

Derek Howard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, MidlandToday.ca

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