City considers change to fire hall construction plan

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Photo: Fire Chief Fred Burrows shows off an artist’s rendition of what the new, larger Fort St. John fire hall is expected to look like./Kimberley Molina

 

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The City is considering a whole new approach to the new Fort St. John Fire Hall after it was unable to reach an agreement with the lowest bidder for the construction contract.

At Monday’s City Council meeting, councillors passed a motion to inform Yellow Ridge Construction that the City would not use the company’s services because they could not reach a final consensus on various conditions.

City staff will now look at whether a Project Management model is a feasible option. If this model is chosen, the City would hire a project manager to oversee the Fire Hall’s construction, says Mayor Bruce Lantz.

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Lantz says having the City oversee and be responsible for the Hall’s construction, could ultimately save the City money.

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The City’s Director of Facilities & Protective Services Jim Rogers says if the City ends up going with this approach, it may provide more of an opportunity for local businesses to be contracted for parts of the work.

With the other approach, the construction company would have overseen all of the work.

The City had originally budgeted $10.4 million for the Fire Hall Project, which was considered non-negotiable. Yet, when the City put out a request for proposals for the Hall’s construction contract all of the tenders were over budget. Yellow Ridge Construction was the lowest bidder; however, even its estimate was approximately $300,000 over the budgeted amount.

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Lantz says the City cannot simply put out another tender for the project because doing so could result in a lawsuit.

He says the only way the City could potentially issue another tender is if major changes were made to the project’s plan that would significantly alter the design.

Despite the setback, he says the City hopes to still be able to begin construction this year and finish the Fire Hall by the end of 2012.

The new fire hall will be located on 93rd Avenue behind Sobeys and will be slightly less than 2,500 square metres, more than double the size of the current station.

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