TBM to take over snow plowing at local parking lots

The Town of The Blue Mountains will be bringing snow removal at 15 town-owned parking lots in-house this coming winter after no contractors bid on the tender to provide the service.

At its meeting on Oct. 31, council approved a staff report that will make snow removal at a number of facility parking lots an in-house function of the town. The lots include: the Beaver Valley Community Centre, the fire hall in Clarksburg, the OPP building, the Arthur Street parking lot, water plant, water tower, the water booster stations and the sewage plants in Thornbury and Clarksburg.

Previously, the town had 15 lots which received snow removal services from private contractors. Another 15 lots were handled in-house.

“We went out with bids for the lots, we didn’t receive any bids,” said Director of Community Services Ryan Gibbons. “This is an opportunity to bring this work in-house.”

The move will require two additional seasonal staff to be hired and the purchase of a pick-up truck and necessary snow removal equipment to go on the truck.

In his report, Gibbons said town staff expect bringing snow removal for the lots in-house will save money. The town budgeted $82,800 for the cost last year and this year the cost of the additional staff and the truck is estimated at approximately $77,000 total.

Gibbons also noted that the town saved significant money when it previously brought snow removal in-house for the fire hall in Craigleith and the Grey County paramedic station in Craigleith. Gibbons also said last year town staff spent significant amounts of time managing the snow removal contract as the lower bidder eventually stopped providing the service and the town had to negotiate a new mid-season deal with the second lowest bidder.

Council was supportive of the initiative, with Mayor Alar Soever asking for staff’s opinion as to why the snow removal contract received no bids this year.

Gibbons said small snow removal contractors have faced rising costs for insurance in recent years.

“With the increased costs for insurance, they weren’t interested in bidding,” he said.

Due to the current council being in a “lame duck” situation, town CAO Shawn Everitt will use the authority delegated to him in the town’s “lame duck” bylaw to hire the new staff for the positions. Using the authority means Everitt will have to report to the new council about how he used his authority.

Chris Fell, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, CollingwoodToday.ca