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A decision on design and construction of the Leeds Fire Station No. 2 has been deferred to the Dec. 14 budget meeting.

As part of the 2022 Capital Budget, Township of Leeds and the Thousand Islands council approved $400,000 for the acquisition of land and completion of the detailed design for a new fire station in the Seeley’s Bay area. The property was selected and acquired from Keith and Gary Sly for $240,000.

Additionally, staff issued a Request For Proposal (RFP) for the detailed design and contract administration for the new fire hall. IDEA Inc was the successful proponent for $312,305. Staff worked with IDEA Inc to advance the design and satisfy both Cataraqui Region Conservation Authority and minor variance requirements.

With the finalization of the design complete, staff released a tender for the construction of the Leeds Fire Station No. 2 that closed on Nov. 2. Thirteen submissions were received.

Those were – JCB Construction Canada Inc. ($5,846,112.), Thomas Cavanagh Construction Ltd. ($6,000,685.44), Niacon Ltd. ($6,207,360), Ubcon Construction Ltd. ($6,257,222.40), R.K. Porter General Contracting Inc. ($6,400,704), Fred Trottier Construction Ltd. ($6,455,012.07), McDonald Brothers Construction Inc. ($6,667,315.20), Robert J. Bourgon & Associates Ltd. ($6,762,229.80), Brawn Construction Ltd. ($6,866,446.29), Massicotte Construction Ltd. ($7,549,325.09), Wemp & Smith Construction Ltd. ($7,581,120), Quad Pro Construction Ltd ($8,341,267.20), and Premium Construction ($8,879,465.66).

All submissions provided exceed the Class B estimate from April 11, 2023 of $4,219,922.

The cost consultant has conducted a Class A estimate that was unavailable prior to the issuance of the tender. This estimate has now been completed and aligns closer to the submissions received at $6,725,506 ($869.49/sqft). Increased pricing for material, equipment, labour, and fuel are believed to contribute to the elevated prices received.

So, staff proposed the following options for council to consider as the potential next steps for the Leeds fire hall.

Those options included proceeding with the construction of Leeds Station 2 as tendered. Under this option, staff would engage JCB Construction Canada Inc. to construct the fire hall in the amount of $5,846,112 inclusive of the net HST as tendered. The second option available to council was to cancel the tender and defer the construction of Leeds Station 2. This option involves cancelling the current tender and deferring the project until material, equipment, labour and fuel costs subside. The third option involved canceling the tender and engaging IDEA Inc. to redesign. Under this option, staff would terminate the competition and engage IDEA Inc to redesign the fire hall, simplifying the design and removing features included as part of the tender. Such features include but are not limited to generator, steel roof with water collection system, and reviewing the spatial requirements for training center, washrooms, offices, and drive-through bays.

Coun. Jeff Lackie supported canceling the tender and engaging IDEA Inc. to re-design.

“I think we need to go back to the drawing board and think this through again,” said Lackie. “Maybe we’re going for something more elaborate than what we need. We do have four stations plus the fire training (facility). We’ve got a lot on our plate. I think they have to come back with something more affordable.”

Deputy Mayor Terry Fodey asked what the “ticket” was for the township’s three major projects – Ivy Lea Wharf Project, a new fire truck, and the new fire hall.

Staff noted those projects add up to just over $10-million in total.

Fodey then shared his concerns with rising costs.

“I know this is high, we didn’t expect it this high,” said Fodey. “I don’t think any of us expected it to be this high, but my fear is that if we go with any other option or put it off, this option (construction of the fire hall for around $5,846,112), might look real low in six months from now, 60 days from now. I don’t know that more than anyone else. But I do know (it might not) go down. That’s my point. If we go to option two or three, it’s a total unknown. If we go back to retendering, as Coun. Lackie had stated, or renegotiating this whole thing, I guess we can cut back on the bells and whistles.”

Mayor Corinna Smith-Gatcke asked what it has cost the township to design to date, and asked if the township were to redesign the fire hall, if it’d cost the same amount. She also asked for timeframes.

To date, the township has spent $170,000, it was noted, and the township is just over a year into the process.

“We have the approval with the site plan that we’d have to consider, if we’re going to change the look” said David Holliday, director of operations for the township. “I think we’d have to have conversations with the Conservation Authority again. So, with all of that taken into consideration, as well as the design itself, we’re probably looking at another six to eight months (to get another design).”

Coun. Mark Jamison, along with Coun. Angela Kelman voted against deferring a decision.

“Take action,” said Jamison. “Let’s be brave and get it done.”

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