SOUTH DUNDAS – Rescinding a truck purchase tender raised the ire of South Dundas council at its September 27 meeting.
Council was asked to rescind a resolution to approve buying two half-ton pickup trucks from Laplante Chevrolet Buick Ltd. that was approved in May.
South Dundas tendered to buy two new trucks, one for the recreation department, the other for the transportation department. Both were to replace existing vehicles that have electrical issues and are not in service.
Laplante notified the municipality that it could no longer supply the trucks because the six-cylinder 4.3 litre engine was no longer available and the work truck trim model was not available from Chevrolet.
Councillor Archie Mellan was not happy with the company’s inability to supply the vehicles.
“I don’t like this. Why would [Laplante] come out and say ‘oh we don’t make this engine or body type’ when it was clear in the tender that that’s what we wanted. We have no recourse, we have to re-tender,” Mellan said. He added that in rescinding the tender that Laplante should be disqualified to bid on projects for a year as a penalty for failing to deliver the trucks as ordered.
“I’m old school I guess,” he said. “When you say you’re going to deliver something, you deliver it.”
Mayor Steven Byvelds explained that the municipality’s procurement policy does not have a penalty clause.
“I’m not happy either. The [SDG] Counties have it in their procurement policy that if somebody backs out of a tender they’re not allowed to bid on anything for two years or a set period of time,” Byvelds said.
Director of Transportation Hyndman said that the issue was not Laplante Chevrolet, but GM Canada that could not fulfill the tender.
Byvelds asked if buying used trucks was an option considered given the short supply of new trucks on the market.
Director of Transportation Jeff Hyndman said that in many cases used trucks are as expensive as new trucks due to the global computer chip shortage.
Still unhappy with the truck issue, Byvelds placed some of the blame on the transportation department for its requirements being too specific when the bid tender was issued.
“If you get very specific in what you need, you narrow down your choices,” Byvelds said, asking Hyndman to bring a report to the next council meeting with the new tender document.
“Your methods cost us money and I want to make sure that council is in agreement with that kind of method,” said the mayor. “Limiting range in this day and age when we just need a truck that’s got four wheels and an engine, and can get you from Point-A to Point-B, it doesn’t have to be fancy.”
Councillor Donald Lewis agreed with Byvelds saying “I don’t know why we would get a tender on a six-cylinder to start with, and I don’t think there would be much of a difference between a six and an eight.”
Deputy Mayor Kirsten Gardner asked how the staff had been working with the two trucks already out of service. Hyndman said that three vehicles were rented to offset the fleet shortage.
“We had to be more creative in doing the work,” he said. “Now the recreation department has gone back to the arena so that is helping.”
Council rescinded the purchase bylaw and did not impose any restrictions on Laplante for not fulfilling the tender.
Other items discussed at South Dundas council included:
• South Dundas has extended its fire dispatching service agreement with Brockville Fire Dispatch until December 2023.
Council supported extending the existing fire dispatching services agreement, which will be upgraded to Next Generation 9-1-1, which better supports non-conventional phone system calls on the 9-1-1 system.
The contract includes a two per cent cost increase in 2022 and 2023. The contract will cost South Dundas $45,966.34 in 2022 and $46,885.67 in 2023.
• Additional savings were found in the recently approved Morrisburg Asphalt Pathway project. The project, which was about $9,000 over budget, has now had $9,280 in savings found.
Contractor Coco Paving Inc. worked with South Nation Conservation to determine that some of the silt fencing that was initially thought to be required along the entire length of the waterfront path was not needed. Most of the pathway repaving project, which includes two new pathways meeting in the center of the waterfront park, is funded in part with money from the Investing in Canada Plan COVID-19 Resilience Infrastructure Stream.
• South Dundas renewed two land-lease agreements with Ontario Power Generation for two municipal parks. OPG owns the shoreline along the St. Lawrence River in many places due to the St. Lawrence Seaway project in the 1950s.
The five year lease renewals extend the municipality’s use of the waterfront at Duncan Park in Mariatown and Loyalist Park on Lakeshore Drive near Flagg Road. A nominal lease fee of $2 per park per year is charged. The lease agreements expire August 2026.
• Two property rezoning bylaws were approved by council. One changed the zoning of a severed piece of property on Bell Road from agricultural to institutional. This rezoning applies to the expansion of the Spruce Haven Cemetery.
The other rezoning added special exemptions to the existing commercial zoning for the Whitteker Environmental property on County Road 16 in Brinston. The expanded use allows for a mini-warehouse and storage facility on the property.
• Council approved extending an agreement with 4S Consulting Services Inc. for $7,950. 4S Consulting provides a safety management system for municipal employees including a health and safety program. The agreement expires August 31, 2023.
• South Dundas council agreed to hold a third meeting every month until early next year. Citing delays due to the pandemic and a desire by council to get things accomplished, council will hold a committee of the whole meeting on the third Monday each month, beginning in October.
Phillip Blancher, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Morrisburg Leader