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Feature Article -February 1, 2007

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February 1, 2007

Mountain Grove fire hall receives tentative approvalby Jeff Green--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Sydenham_regatta_2007

Mountain_Grove_Firehall_approvedA new fire hall in Mountain Grove had been planned for this year, and now it seems almost certain that it will be built, perhaps by the fall. Central Frontenac Fire Chief Mark MacDonald approached council this week to talk about the potential savings that would come with approaching Cornerstone Contracting, the company that is building a fire hall south of Sharbot Lake, and offering them the contract to build in Mountain Grove, if they can match the specifications and price per square metre of the Sharbot Lake building. In a written report, he said “There has been interest expressed by both the fire department and some members of council to expedite the construction process for the fire hall in Mountain Grove, rather than wait for final budget approval, which could be as late as May.” A motion was prepared by interim Chief Administrative Officer John Duchene, which stated that the matter will be brought up in preliminary budgetary discussions next month, and if approved, Cornerstone will be granted the contract, provided they agree to the stipulated terms. Mark MacDonald pointed out that the Sharbot Lake building is what is called a “pre-engineered” building, and the one in Mountain Grove will be essentially the same as the one in Sharbot Lake, except it will have one less bay. Councilor Philip Smith raised a concern over spending several hundred thousand dollars “without going to a tendering process”. This concern was echoed by Councilor Gary Smith, who said, “I am concerned about bypassing the tender process in this case. I would like the opportunity to go back to the tender process.” John Duchene said, “We got competitive bids last year. The thinking is, with this proposal, that if Cornerstone would match that price, it might be acceptable to Council.” “I should point out that Cornerstone was the lowest bidder last time around, by a significant amount. I appreciate the concerns of council, but I am concerned about delays. We could be looking at another year,” said Fire Chief Mark MacDonald. Councillor Norman Guntensperger asked MacDonald “Is your thinking that, by moving quickly, we are going to have savings?” “That’s exactly what I’m thinking,” agreed Councillor Frances Smith, “I think if we go back to tender, we will not get as good a price as we have now.” MacDonald nodded. In a split vote, council approved the motion, paving the way for construction to begin within the next few months.

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