The Continuing Saga of the Perth Road Fire Hall

Written by  Wednesday, 12 July 2017 10:52
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CAO Orr brought a recommendation that a special meeting of Council be called next Tuesday to award the tender for the Perth Road Fire Hall, because although six bids have been received, the evaluation of these bids by the Architect (based on 80 points for price and 20 for references) has not yet been received.

Since 2009, Fire Hall Studies have recommended the replacement of most of the current fire halls. A 2014 RFP for a firehall concept brought estimates ranging from $2.1-$2.5 million. The same year Council approved a capital budget of $225,000 for land acquisition, site servicing and architect fees for a new Perth Road Fire Hall, and in 2015 set a budget of $1 million for construction of the fire hall. The land was acquired in 2016, and in December of that year, Council approved the design criteria after having gone on two bus tours of various fire halls.  

The architect’s contract was also awarded in 2016, for $112,350. The resulting design has been described by Public Works Manager Segsworth as “not an opulent building, or out of the ordinary.”

During 2017 budget discussion Council rejected a $750,000 increase in the construction budget “for fear of creating unrealistic expectations.”

So site works, paving, water tanks and landscaping were pulled out prior to issuing tender for construction because final estimates still exceeded budget. (unofficial estimates put the costs of the excluded items at $200,000.)

Four of the six bids received are within $45,000 of each other, all coming in at or near $500,000 more than the amount budgeted by Council.

Much discussion ensued: Barbeau and Schjerning said that first priority should be given to the sort of building Council wants, rather than setting the price first. CAO Orr said “ The over-budget tenders should not come as a surprise: $1 million would produce a reduced-standard building. Clearly, there is no appetite for extending the budget up. We could push it all back, change from a metal to a shingle roof, etc, but this would reduce the quality and life of the building. Is this what we want?”

Mayor Vandewal referred several times to Amherstview’s much less expensive firehall, and the future needs for new firehalls in Sydenham, Verona, etc. He asked for assurance from staff that this is indeed the minimum size of hall needed for Perth Road. Fire Chief Chesebrough was shaking his head in what appeared to be frustration, and Segsworth said staff had been discussing, but were prepared to come back to Council for direction next week.
There seemed to be agreement among Council that there was no wish to postpone the project one more year. (It should be noted that there does not appear to be any external source of funding assistance for firehalls.)
A special meeting has been called for Tuesday July 18, by which time the six bids will be evaluated and ranked by the architect, to decide the fate of the Perth Road Fire Hall.

Sydenham Lake Association’s State of the Lake Report
Gord Rodgers of French Planning Services and Bill Peairs of the SLA presented Council with the State of the Lake Report, which is to be followed this fall with a Lake Stewardship Plan, currently in draft form. Thanking the Township for help and cooperation received from Township staff members Lindsay Mills and Jenny Kapusta, Rogers called it “one of the best processes I’ve ever been involved in.” He listed many other agencies and individuals that had worked with them to compile this summary of the most current and relevant environmental information on Sydenham lake and its watershed. The Lake Plan will “guide actions towards protection and management of of the environmental characteristics important to the health of the lake.” The entire project has cost $65,000, all of which has been funded by a variety of grants, some related to the fact that Sydenham lake is a source water lake for the village.

The report, which is readable and interesting, can be found on the SLA’s website: www.sydenhamlake.ca.

Annual Report: Sydenham Water Treatment
Kevin Riley, of Utilities Kingston, gave a brief and positive report on the water treatment plant: there were no reported problems, and no questions. There has been some concern about the functioning of the water meters, which is under investigation.

Minimum Distance Separation Zoning Changes
Forbes Symon spoke to a public meeting about proposed revision of the Minimum Distance Separation (MDS) requirements between barns and neighbouring houses and cemeteries which would reflect new provincial guidelines and should make the zoning easier to understand and more flexible. There were a few comments and questions for clarification, but no major disagreement.

Hartington Community Association
Two notices of motion were brought by Councillor Schjerning, a) to reimburse the HCA $23,730 for expenses incurred by their hiring of an expert witness and b) to cover the est. $8700 costs of testing all 29 residences within 300 m of the former gas station. They were deferred until legal proceedings with the OMB are concluded.

Fermoy Hall Repairs Hit a Snag
Plans to repair the plaster at Fermoy hall have been put on hold, following the revelation that there is asbestos in the skim coat of the plaster, which will necessitate removal of all the plaster as well as the wainscotting and electrical service panel and conduits.This is estimated to double the price of $30,000 which was the amount budgeted for all upgrades including well, septic system, paint and insulation.

The future of this “historic pre-confederation building with good footings, strong construction and full accessibility” has been referred back to the Fermoy committee for a strategy and plan for fundraising.

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